August 2023 Newsletter

Date: 21 Sep 2023

Letter from Gareth James, ASPC President


Welcome to the first of our proposed quarterly ASPC newsletter. Qudos to Paula, our Admin Princess, for the original concept and her hard work putting this all together. The Council and I have been busy since May, working on my 3 Presidential goals: Growth, Rejuvenation and Recognition.


To help us grow from the bottom up we have Co-opted a new GP VTS lead onto the Council – Dr Sam Chambers. The plan is to enthuse/inform/educate these budding GP’s, especially those with a surgical background, of the diversity of surgical opportunities in Primary care, bringing them into the ASPC early in their careers.

Work continues making closer links with POCUS We have also reached out to our colleagues in the field of Aesthetics, and we shall see how this develops.


The internal workings of the ASPC Council have been reviewed and redefined for a new era. My Vice-Presidents remain Mig Arbide and Tony Feltbower, whilst Soon Lim now becomes our Events Manager. Dr Albert Benjamin meantime has decided to retire from the Council, and we thank him for his unstinting commitment to the ASPC over many years.

Along with new blood in Dr Sam Chambers, Dr Paul Fourie has also been Co-opted to the Council as the ASPC World Vasectomy Day representative. Further work had continued on our revamped ASPC website, and we hope to unveil the new site (with automatic membership renewal!) within the next few weeks.

Our (expensive) reliance on SurveyMonkey will diminish come October but only those with Team Advantage accounts will notice any difference. More details will follow. Planning for our 2024 ASPC conference is well underway, and will take place in an exciting new venue, Sedgebrook Hall, Northamptonshire on the 10th/11th May 2024.

We hope our keynote speaker will be Professor Michel Labreque from Canada, his first visit to us in a decade. Tickets on sale end of October – book early for discounts!


Work has continued on the studies/publications/joint FSRH projects that were already in progress, whilst Professor Fahad Rizvi’s new audit team, based at the jaw-dropping Medical Technologies Innovation Facility at Nottingham Trent University, have already started work on writing papers relating to ASPC audit data for both Carpel Tunnel operations and Vasectomies.

This Quarter coming…

The council met via Zoom at the end of July, and have a face-to-face meeting planned in October to finalise the 2024 Conference plus discuss a myriad of other matters. Please remember the council is here for you, if you need our help, please ask us! Likewise, please sign up and post on our WhatsApp groups, where you can ask questions or start debates with your fellow colleagues!

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Be seeing you 👌 Gareth James
ASPC President

Update from Tony Feltbower - ASPC Vasectomy Lead; FSRH Vasectomy Guardian.

Vasectomy Trainers and Trainees

The current FSRH Vasectomy SSM and ASPC Logbook are being completely revised to create a common pathway for trainees and trainers. A new ‘theory’ module is being developed which in due course will be on the Government’s eLfH platform and free to access for those with login details. It will be expected that prospective trainees will view and complete this module prior to starting hands-on training with a trainer. It is also anticipated that 1-2 times a year there will be a study day for prospective trainees to attend where a lot more information would be provided and opportunity for discussion and questions. The aim is to provide sufficient information for those interested in training to be a vasectomy surgeon to be able to decide whether to not they wish to continue to practical training.

Anecdotal experience from a similar study day held last year suggests that some prospective trainees decide not to continue once they become aware of all that training entails.

The eLfH module would also be suitable for other health professionals and administrative staff involved in providing vasectomy services as it will include information on pre and post-operative pathways and services that are frequently organised by staff other than the surgeon themselves. It is likely to be well into next year when it becomes available online.

We are also working on new guidance on requirements for experienced vasectomy surgeons interested in becoming trainers as well as a 5-yearly reaccreditation process for all vasectomy surgeons (including trainers) like the requirements that the FSRH have for those inserting IUDs and contraceptive implants. I am confident that this will result in significant discussion in due course (Come to the Vasectomy Study Day in Coventry on November 11th when more may be revealed, or at least, opportunity given to grill me further!). So, watch this space.......... 

Vasectomy Standards

I and others have been working on drafting a new FSRH Vasectomy Standard (like those the FSRH already has for topics such as contraception, menopause, SRH Services) for the past year or so. This is now almost ready to be put out for public consultation and I encourage all vasectomy. surgeons and their staff to read it and provide constructive criticism and comment on any concerns, additions, amendments etc. these will all be considered prior to the final publication being available, hopefully sometime in the Autumn. Emails and WhatsApp messages will be sent out when the draft is ready to view and how comments can be made.

Retiring GPs and the Performer’s list.

There has been confusion as to whether a GP on the Performer’s list who retires from GP practice is able to stay on the Performer’s list and continue to work in a GP practice with an NHS Primary Services contract but only in a niche service, such as women’s health or community surgery (such as vasectomy). Different Responsible Officers around the country appear to be taking different views, with some allowing this (such as my own) and some not. As far as I am aware, there is no reason why a GP is not able to stay on the Performer’s list. The rationale is that they are no longer providing the complete scope of General Practice (but many already do not!). However, as they are still working in a GP practice under an NHS contract this should still be allowed. It is different for doctors who, for example, have been working in Sexual Health Services, then retire from that employment, but wish to continue providing specialist women’s health services (such as in contraception and menopause) in a GP practice, who then would wish to be on the Performer’s list as this would allow them easy access to (free) annual appraisal and a Responsible Officer for 5 yearly revalidations. At present this avenue is not open to them (and unlikely ever to be so unless there is a change in the NHS Regulations) and this means they are faced with having to fork out £1000-2000 annually to access appraisals and an RO, making it financially less worthwhile for them to continue working – these doctors are them lost to the NHS workforce at a time when the NHS is desperate for more doctors and other health professionals.

If anyone has an individual question or concern about this, then please get in touch.

Tony Feltbower
ASPC Vasectomy Lead; FSRH Vasectomy Guardian

A reminder of why you are a valued member of the ASPC.

The ASPC is the only organisation nationally that represents GPwSI / Consultants who provide surgical services in the community primary care setting.

  • We are your voice that is heard by NHSE, RCS, RCGP, CQC and other bodies.
  • ASPC reflects and supports GP community surgeons needs and views in various consultations including NHSE, GMC and CQC.
  • We support and provide guidance to CCG’s, Health boards and other commissioning organisations to roll out appropriately funded and designed community surgery contracts nationwide.
  • We support global health care colleagues providing surgery in the community e.g., Haiti, Philippines etc and provides opportunities for members to work as volunteers abroad.
  • ASPC is affiliated with the ASGBI and affiliation with the RCGP is under discussion. ASPC also has close links with BADS
  • ASPC will act as a lobby group for its members and provide representation at national level (currently three of the associations founding members are working on the DoH General Surgery sub-group for the Care Closer to home project)
  • Accreditation of practitioners performing surgery in primary care and their appraisal is of paramount importance. Through its affiliation with the FRSH and RCGP the association will be able to produce guidelines for both accreditation and appraisal.

Member benefits include;

  • Support and networking · Access to national ASPC yearly Audits
  • Submission of said audits to show not just how effectively your clinics performance is, but also the ability to compare your service with other surgical providers around the country.
  • Continuing Professional Development CPD credits for any meetings or webinars attended and Audit submissions. 
  • Advice in an area of clinical practice which is evolving rapidly.
  • Access to a network of individuals and practices working at the leading edge in this clinical area.
  • Access to our Closed ASPC Facebook page and WhatsApp support group. 
  • Significantly Reduced Fees to our Annual Conference for Members
  • Access to members-only educational materials on this website
  • Access to members-only local service development/CCG advice and materials
  • Membership provides free reciprocal membership of Primary care Surgical Association (PCSA) of the Republic of Ireland and its ensuing benefits.
  • We support GP Surgeons in bidding for local contracts in community surgery.