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Improving surgical training

We are working with the Royal College of Surgeons to pilot a new competence-based, run-through training programme in general surgery.

The Improving Surgical Training pilot will trial improvements in the quality of training, a better training-service balance for trainees, professionalise the role of the trainer, and look at developing other members of the team from other professional backgrounds to work alongside trainees to improve patient care.

The programme was commissioned following a review of surgical training which found high dissatisfaction rates among surgical trainees, that many were spending increasing amounts of their time on service provision, and not enough of their time on training. The General Medical Council’s annual trainee survey also consistently finds that surgical trainees are the least satisfied of all the medical specialties with their training.

The pilot represents an opportunity for trusts to develop an alternative workforce model, maximising productive training time and making use of the focused specialisms of members of the extended surgical team. It also provides the ideal occasion to develop the concept of the modern firm, announced by Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, whilst Health Secretary, involving the multi-disciplinary team within which junior doctors work, and who are best placed to provide the support they require in a positive and collaborative environment.

The pilots were launched in August 2018 in general surgery at over 30 different trusts across England, Scotland and Wales, with 80 surgical trainees taking part. 

Rotas in the IST pilot will provide trainees with 60% elective daytime training activity. Each trainee will also have a minimum of one hour per week to receive feedback from their trainer and reflect on their work. Enhanced training for IST trainers has been developed and delivered by the RCS via dedicated two-day boot camps.

Professor Wendy Reid, Executive Director of Education and Quality and Medical Director, Health Education England, said:

“Improving Surgical Training provides an exciting opportunity to enhance training in general surgery – and, in due course, training in other surgical specialties - to help improve patient care.”

Further information can be found on the College's website



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