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Professor Linda de Cossart


Emeritus Consultant Vascular and General Surgeon, Chester Professor Linda de Cossart was elected Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) for England in April 2008 as only the fifth female executive member to hold that position in the 217-year listing of the college. When she began her training, it was almost unheard of for a woman to enter the world of surgery, and when she did not get into medical school the first time around, she resisted the urge and advice to take a place in science – her best career decision.

Linda qualified in 1972 from the University of Liverpool School of Medicine and undertook her house jobs at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary. After a year spent as an Anatomy Demonstrator, she spent a three-month sabbatical as a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Anatomy, at the University of Texas, Houston. Upon return to the UK, she completed a pre-fellowship registrar rotation, became a Fellow of the RCS in 1977 and graduated with an MS from the University of Liverpool after a period of full-time research on the subject of venous disease in 1983. Her clinical training followed the traditional route prior to Calmanisation and she spent two years as a Vascular Research Fellow to Mrs Averil Mansfield in Liverpool. In 1988, Linda was appointed Consultant Surgeon with an interest in vascular surgery at the Countess of Chester Hospital, with a special remit of developing a peripheral vascular service there. The unit she established is now the second main centre in Merseyside. As Associate Postgraduate Dean in the Mersey Deanery from 1993, and Programme Director from 1994, Linda was closely involved with the changes in both specialist registrar

and senior house officer levels in surgery and their educational implications. She continued both roles until 2006. Linda remains very active in medical education and teaching, and creating resources for medical teachers is at the heart of her endeavour to promote the importance of teaching using the ‘moral mode of educational practice’. In the model, the learner is put at the centre of the teaching endeavour both as a person and professional. Linda is most inspired by those she teaches and has taught; “it is a privilege to be a teacher of other doctors and a joy to watch young doctors grow and develop their capacity as capable doctors,” she says. In 1993, Linda completed a Certificate in Senior Executive Business Management from the Manchester Business School and in 1999, she was first elected to the 26-Member Council of the RCS. The same year, she became Chair of the Health and Safety Committee, a Member of the Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) in General Surgery, and for ten years she was an Intercollegiate Examiner for the exit exam in general surgery. She is an External Examiner for the Masters in Surgical Education at Imperial College and is a Trustee of the Liverpool Medical Institute. In 2008, Linda was elected Vice-President of the RCS. She retired from clinical practice in 2009 and was appointed Director of Medical Education at Chester from 2010-2015. In collaboration with Professor Della Fish, she instituted an MA in Education for Postgraduate Medical Practice at the University of Chester, where she is an Honorary Professor. They succeeded in the aim of educating a critical mass of senior clinicians in becoming better clinical teachers, and it was rolled out to a wider audience in 2012. With Della, Linda has published Cultivating a Thinking Surgeon in 2005; Developing the Wise Doctor in 2007, and Reflection for Medical Appraisal in 2013. During her career, she is most proud of creating a vascular service which continues, encouraging more women to enter surgical training in the Mersey region, and being respected by her peers and colleagues resulting in her election to College Council. In 2010, she was awarded a CBE for services to medicine and healthcare. * Favourite Song: The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins * Three objects Linda cannot live without: iPhone, Electric toothbrush, My Philip Kingsley hair shampoo

Linda’s advice to junior doctors is “Remember that you are part of an important profession, honour its traditions and, in the best interests of patients, reshape it for the 21st century.”


Medical Woman | Spring 2017

Medical Woman – Magazine Centenary Issue, April 2017  

The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...