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Rodney Peyton | Owner & Consultant Surgeon | Peyton Medico-Legal Services

Rodney Peyton: A Global Keynote Speaker, Renowned Expert Surgeon and Proficient Business Leader

Mr Peyton OBE MD MPM has been involved in the healthcare industry for over forty years. He is an internationally renowned trauma surgeon, author, trainer, and keynote speaker who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career spanning several decades and is regarded by many as the world’s leading surgical coach. He was head of faculty development and then examiner training for the Royal College of Surgeons in England and has spent much of his professional career driven by a desire to improve surgical practice and ensure better outcomes for patients. His proven systems and techniques are used around the world to teach surgical skills to everyone from trainee surgeons to experienced consultants.

“Leadership is all about adding value to, and making a difference for others which is the key distinguishing feature between success as a person and success as a leader.”

Mr Peyton is regarded as a leading authority on surgical education and the demand for his expertise has seen him travel the globe, winning a plethora of prestigious international awards in the process.  To date he remains the only person who has been awarded five fellowships from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons and Physicians in the UK and Ireland. His core belief is the leadership role is all about adding value to, and making a difference for, others and that the ability to bring about change for a group or for society is the key distinguishing feature between success as a person and success as a leader.
Fostering Practice Based Learning
When Rodney first took on his role as Head of Faculty Development with the College of Surgeons in England more than 30 years ago there was limited acknowledgement that teaching adults was a particular skill and dependant on an understanding of how people learn.  Most professions at that time followed an apprenticeship model where trainees learned on the job by working alongside more senior colleagues. Also, university lecturers were typically chosen as they were good at research, rather than at delivering information. The rapid advances of knowledge and techniques in recent years have made an apprenticeship model redundant.  Learning no longer has an end point and even the most expert and experienced in every speciality must be committed to life-long education.
Rodney’s pioneering Training the Trainers courses developed at the Royal College of Surgeons are now taught somewhere in the world on an almost daily basis and the main theories are captured in his bestselling textbook “Teaching and Learning in Medical Education” (1998).  What was then a revolutionary idea is now mainstream, with most university and postgraduate trainers now being required to have a formal teaching certification.
Healthcare Transformation During Pandemic
While all industries have been affected by the pandemic, it has perhaps had the greatest impact on healthcare, stressing the delivery of patient care and forcing health services globally, as well as individual hospitals and service providers, to make enormous changes.  These include introducing safety arrangements to protect staff and patients, making choices between prioritising the response to patients with Covid against the ongoing needs of patients with other life-threatening illnesses and coping with the impact on colleagues of staff succumbing to the virus.
On a personal level, Covid has impacted on emergency workers as family members as they, like others, have had to cope with the new challenges of home-schooling and isolation from relatives, friends, and colleagues.
Healthcare personnel have also had to lead on the logistics of implementing the vaccination programme. This has required a project management approach, with appropriate planning, delivery processes for the vaccine itself, complex arrangements for safely administering the vaccine on a phased based to identified groups and all in the context of worldwide knowledge sharing and dissemination of information on an almost daily basis.
This has brought into sharp focus the need for Rodney’s current collaboration with international experts with the aim of introducing a bespoke project management approach into the healthcare environment.
Persistence is The Key
There are currently enormous opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs in the healthcare industry, an area which spans everything from digital technology to the development of medical instruments and from educational provision to the direct delivery of private healthcare services.
Achievement of any goal requires persistent action, as any significant change is likely to face resistance. Entrepreneurs need to form strong strategic alliances within and outside the industry and with other sectors, often on an international scale.
As with any undertaking, it is important to be clear on the vision, purpose, and outcomes of any project from the outset. Furthermore, success is a journey, not a destination and, for the individual, encompasses an all-round prosperity to include family life, financial freedom, good physical and mental wellbeing as well as having a satisfying professional practice or business.
A Needed Change for Improvement
Rodney believes that the single most significant initiative to transform healthcare provision globally would be the introduction of relevant management techniques, in particular project management approaches, specifically adapted for the healthcare sector.  A project management approach would radically improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of all aspects of healthcare delivery resulting in better patient outcomes.
Through his involvement with the International Institute of Medical Project Management (IIMPM) Rodney has been engaging with health professionals to ensure appropriate systems are developed to improve the planning and execution of projects such as responding to Covid-19, which has been a classic example of “agile” project management.  Work is ongoing to adapt traditional project management tools so they are properly contextualised to the uniqueness of the sector.
Combining Passion and Business
Rodney’s vision for the future combines his entrepreneurial and business spirit with his passion for education. Those who undergo training at the Institute can be recognised with global certification and also have internal qualifications in leadership and project management. Having leapfrogged into a world of virtual meetings, all kinds of education are now available online, including leadership skills.  Another venture in which Rodney is involved, this time with his son who is an accident and emergency doctor in Western Australia, is an online education forum for doctors internationally to share their knowledge and expertise on a secure social media platform (see
Positive Work Culture
It is a true saying that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” and the need for being attentive to the value systems and wellbeing of staff has never been more important than during the present pandemic when everyone has had to cope with radically changing lifestyles.
While in his business Rodney has adapted fairly easily to remote working with office-based rota arrangements, far greater pressures have been faced on a daily basis by health care professionals including not having the opportunity to switch off with a quiet meal or go the gym after a long shift.  Changes of this magnitude need to ensure appropriate engagement of staff and regular communication which acknowledges commitment and achievements. Trust within an organisation takes time to be built but can be damaged quickly if leaders do not remain sensitive to evolving challenges. It is also important to maintain teamwork at every level and to understand that each person’s experience of the pandemic has been unique, and many have been placed at considerable personal risk.
In conclusion, leaders should model and encourage staff to maintain a positive mindset, to have daily disciplines for selfcare and to set appropriate boundaries around work and home life.