Head of Scottish medical body ousted from £200,000-a-year role in unprecedented move

Members of the college, which is made up of some 26,000 surgeons and medics in the UK and internationally, were informed of Ms Rooneys departure in an email.
Members of the college, which is made up of some 26,000 surgeons and medics in the UK and internationally, were informed of Ms Rooneys departure in an email.
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The head of Edinburgh’s Royal College of Surgeons has been ousted from her six-figure job after a vote of no confidence.

Alison Rooney, 61, had held the post of chief executive at the medical body since October 2008, but was removed following a vote of no confidence on 11 October.

She was paid around £150,000 to £200,000 a year for her role.

The action is unprecedented for the historic institution, which was founded in 1505.

Members of the college, which is made up of some 26,000 surgeons and medics in the UK and internationally, were informed of Ms Rooney’s departure in an email.

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A spokesman for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said: “We can confirm Alison Rooney has left her position as chief executive of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

“Deputy CEO Anthony Oxford will oversee the duties and responsibilities of the chief executive offices until a new CEO is appointed.”

It has been claimed a number of employees have been paid off and departed with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), which stop them from speaking out about their experiences.

One described the college as ‘like a viper’s nest’ with a high staff turnover.

The college, a registered charity, works to promote patient safety by championing the highest standards of surgical and dental practice.

The body raises funds through membership fees, training courses and exam accreditation, commercial activities and donations.

Ms Rooney is also a board member at NHS National Services Scotland. She previously served as university secretary at Glasgow Caledonian University from 2000 to 2008.

She was Director of Registers Scotland from 1995 to 2000 and was also a non-executive board member at NHS Fife until 2017.

It is understood Ms Rooney is considering taking the decision to an employment tribunal.

Bruce Caldow, a partner at Harper Macleod LLP, said his client had been a faithful and diligent employee of the college.

In a statement, Mr Caldow said: “This is entirely a private matter between my client and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, who Ms Rooney faithfully, diligently and transparently served for over ten years, under a succession of presidents, and to whom Ms Rooney helped deliver significant successes.”