RCS International Centre

A Major Achievement and a Significant Milestone: The Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna, becomes a Royal College of Surgeons International Centre

On Thursday 21st March morning a simple but important function was held in the Board Room of the Faculty of Medicine. The occasion was of great significance because it marked the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna as a Royal College of Surgeons of England International Centre to deliver courses in Basic Surgical Skills and Core Laparoscopy Surgery.

Surgical training has undergone many changes over the years. One outcome of these changes is the interest that has been generated in the possibility of training surgical skills outside the operating theatre. Simulation in skills laboratories making use of animal and artificial tissue as well as simulators has increasingly become an important way to train doctors before they transfer these skills for use on patients. The Royal College of Surgeons for many years has been conducting such courses both within the United Kingdom and outside. Basic Surgical Skills is a two-day course that provides surgery trainees with the basic and essential skills that are required in the operating theatres. It stresses the importance of ‘one safe way’ in carrying out basic surgical procedures and in understanding the rationale for them. Similarly, the Core Laparoscopic Surgery course over a three-day period provides training for surgical trainees in the basic skills of laparoscopic surgery making use of modern endo trainer simulators for this purpose.

RCS team conducts training

Prior to the function on Thursday, a six-member team from the Royal College of Surgeons led by Mr. Andrew Miles conducted three training programs from the 13th to 19th March. Local surgeons recruited from the University Surgery Department, Teaching Hospital, Jaffna and the Provincial hospitals to form a local faculty were trained as trainers. This was followed by the newly formed local faculty carrying out the Basic Surgical Skills (BSS) and Core Laparoscopy Surgery (CLS) courses for local participants with the help and guidance of the RCS team. The courses were well conducted and carried out effectively with very positive feedback from participants, local faculty and the RCS team. Faculty technical staff also received training in how to set up and prepare the practical aspects of the courses.

The RCS team members interacted fully with local staff and participants with great friendliness and a complete lack of inhibition! The generous manner in which they involved themselves in all aspects of the programs was what contributed to the successful outcome of the courses. Both groups learned from each other during these nine days. There were also opportunities for the visitors and local faculty to interact socially as well. Many new friends were made.

Official Function

During the function held on Thursday 21st March, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna, Prof.Vigneswaran, handed over the signed ‘Letter of Agreement’ to Ms.Susan Hill, senior Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons. She in turn handed over certificates signed by the President of the Royal College of Surgeons that certified the University of Jaffna as an RCS International Centre to deliver Basic Surgical Skills and Core Laparoscopy Surgery courses. Those who spoke during the function included the Head of the Dept. of Surgery, Dr.S.T.Sarma, the Vice Chancellor, and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr.S.Raviraj. A brief summary of how the project had come about and become a reality was given by Dr.D.C.Ambalavanar, the program organiser. Following a video presentation depicting scenes from the recently conducted courses both Mr. Andrew Miles, the RCS team leader, and Ms. Susan Hill said a few words again mentioning how this collaboration had come about, expressing their satisfaction at the manner in which the program had taken place and regarding the possibilities of building on this in the future as well as thanking the faculty and staff. Mementos and certificates were given to members of the RCS team by the Dean following which Mr. Miles handed out certificates to local faculty. Dr. S. Rajendra, the Course Director, then handed out certificates to the participants and brought the function to a close with the vote of thanks.

Benefits of collaboration with the RCS

The Faculty of Medicine can now conduct two important training courses, BSS and CLS, for surgery trainees in Sri Lanka and possibly from outside the country as well. Participants will undergo training of an international standard and receive Royal College of Surgeons certification which will be recognized in the UK and where ever RCS certification is accepted. Providing such courses in collaboration with the RCS will further strengthen the academic credentials of the Faculty of Medicine and the University of Jaffna. There will be also be a benefit to undergraduate medical students as the quality of basic surgical skills training that they undergo will inevitably improve further.

There is also the potential to build on this endeavor with the RCS by expanding the number of courses, research collaboration and staff training and exchange programs among other things. The possibilities are exciting indeed.

 Successfully establishing the Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna as a Royal College of Surgeons International Centre to provide BSS and CLS courses is a tremendous achievement and one of which the Faculty can take great satisfaction and pride.

Members of the RCS Team

Mr.Andrew miles, Consultant Colorectal surgeon, Winchester, England

Ms.Deborah Gooch, Senior Laparoscopic Nurse Practitioner, Colchester, England

Mr.Stuart Goddard, Senior Technician, Welsh Institute for Minimal access Therapy (WIMAT), Cardiff, Wales

Ms.Veena Surendrakumar, RCS Research Fellow, University of Cambridge, England

Ms.Rachael Clifford, RCS Research Fellow, University of Liverpool, England

Ms.Elise Omfalos, RCS Educator, Royal College of Surgeons,England

Mr.K.Rajaratnam, Consultant Colorectal surgeon, Bedford, England

Ms.Susan Hill, Senior Vice President, Royal College of Surgeons and  Consultant Vascular surgeon, Cardiff, Wales

Local Faculty

Dr. S.Rajendra,  Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine

Dr. V.Sutharsan, Consultant Surgeon, Teaching Hospital, Jaffna

Dr. V.Suthagaran, Consultant Surgeon, Teaching Hospital, Jaffna

Dr. S.Giridaran, Consultant Surgeon, Base Hospital, Tellipallai

Dr. K.Umasankar, Consultant Surgeon, Base Hospital, Point Pedro

Dr. S.T.Sarma, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine

Dr. S.Gobishangar, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine

Dr. P.Pratheepan, Consultant Surgeon, District General Hospital, Mannar

Dr. R.Dhanaraj, Consultant Surgeon, District General Hospital, Kilinochchi

Dr. K.Jayanthan, Consultant Surgeon, Vavuniya General Hospital

Dr. B.Sayanthan, Lecturer, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine

Course Director- Dr. S.Rajendra, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine

Organiser-Dr. D.C.Ambalavanar, Visiting Lecturer, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine


In addition to the visiting RCS team considerable support in preparation and planning was provided by the following at the Royal College of Surgeons

 Dr. Kenny Webster, Head of Learning Operations

Ms. Ileana Guidice, Education Account Manager Geographical

Mr. Chris Leonard, Education Account Manager Geographical

Sponsors, Donors and supporters to whom immense thanks are due

Mediquipment Pvt Ltd – for supporting the stay and local travel of the RCS team, supporting the CLS workshop related expenses and providing laparoscopy equipment for the same

Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon) for donating ten knotting boards, providing two ‘beetle’ laparoscopy trainers and supplying suture materials

Sunshine Healthcare Lanka Ltd for supporting the BSS workshop related expenses

International Medical Health Organisation USA-for providing funds for the purchase and transport of two beetle laparoscopy trainers from India, surgery instruments as well as certain course related expenses

Dr. V. Sivamainthan,USA– for the donation of laparoscopy instruments

Dr. M. Thinathayalan, NHSL Colombo- for his considerable help in arranging for the air freight and clearance of equipment obtained in India as well as arranging transport to Jaffna

Sri Lankan Airlines-for arranging in a speedy manner the air freight of training equipment from Chennai to Colombo and for waiving freight charges for the same.


Dean’s office staff

Dept. of Surgery staff

 Skills lab staff

Demonstrators from Dept. of Surgery and Anatomy

Cleaning staff of the faculty