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September Update

September Update from Professor John MacFie

i) Admin / Membership manager
Most important news is that we have appointed Mrs Helen Crookes as our Membership manager. Helen took up post a couple of weeks ago and is already making an impact. I am confident that CBS having dedicated administrative support will be of enormous benefit to all.

Helen’s appointment was made possible by Mark Henley, President BAPRAS, and our partnership with “Indigo”. Hopefully, this partnership will continue to bring mutual benefits.

Helen can be contacted about any issue to do with CBS at

ii) Wavelength
Another benefit of our partnership with Indigo has been our involvement with a media company called “Wavelength”. This company is expert at engaging with all forms of social media and with raising the profile of our organisation, CBS. We have already had a number of interesting developments. In particular, Nigel Mercer was interviewed on BBC 4’s “ You and Yours” programme about implications of surgeons being underinsured. 

Wavelength have also produced two website “blogs” one on “fly in fly out” surgeons and another on “Why do we need the Confederation?”

iii) Membership
Membership numbers continue to increase at a slow but steady pace.  It has been suggested that we introduce a membership category for trainees, charging only £50 /yr if paid by direct debit. Comments please.

Patrick Magennis’s initiative on offering a 50% reduction on membership costs for newly signed up Founder members has been successful attracting 13 new members. This initiative will continue until a total of 3 members per speciality association has been achieved. 

iv) Surgical Expert
The first “Board” meeting of this proposed initiative will meet on December 11th. Attendees will include myself, Nigel Mercer as President FSSA, Sharon Brennan CEO of CFC Underwriting, Mark Henley, President BAPRAS, Simon Downing, CEO Indigo. 
The aim of this meeting will be to agree a “modus operandi” and in particular to agree a mechanism to formulate a list of agreed experts. If you are interested in having your name added to such a list or in attending this meeting please let us know

v) GMC

CBS has, on behalf of members, been in correspondence with the GMC about two important matters, Publication and Disclosure policy with regard to MPTS website and their approach to doctors declared bankruptA CBS member approached the CBS for advice. This doctor had been subject to a MPTS tribunal but completely acquitted. Concern was expressed that despite being exonerated the doctor’s name still appeared prominently on MPTS web site. A casual observer could easily misinterpret this as suggesting a problem “no smoke without fire”. Additionally, as all doctors are well aware, they have to declare being reported to the GMC even if exonerated, on application forms, for merit awards, discretionary points or new appointments.

Bankruptcy is not something usually considered familiar to practising surgeons. However, we were approached recently by a surgeon who has had to re-mortgage a property in order to meet legal expenses. If the case progresses and costs awarded against the surgeon, then one option might be to be declared bankrupt.  

The correspondence appertaining to these cases is on our website.

vi) How to be a Consultant Surgeon meeting

This meeting is being organised by Richard Lovegrove. The programme looks excellent and registration is open (see web site). Please encourage senior trainees or recently appointed consultants to take a look. 

The meeting is being held in the RCSEd offices in Birmingham on the 4thDecember.

We are limited to about 50 registrants and already have over 10 signed up. Please register your interest as soon as possible. 

vii) Member benefits

An important aspiration of CBS is that as it grows it will be able to offer a range of member benefits. We already have the following:

Cavendish Medical, who have produced comprehensive documents on the taper and pension problems and who will provide individual financial advice at competitive rates.

Medix, an insurance company set up by surgeons for surgeons in conjunction with Aston Lark will provide bespoke quotes for house, practice, association or car insurance.

Ballards, an accountancy firm who we are meeting in November to negotiate special terms for CBS members. 

viii) Social media
We now have a facebook page, a twitter account and are on LinkedIN. Please feedback your comments. 


CBS is potentially an organisation which could significantly improve the working conditions of surgeons. It can do this as a registered trade union. CBS is not in competition with Colleges or Associations which have an entirely different role.  CBS, however, cannot succeed without your support. 

John MacFie Sept 2019 

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