The Surgical Forum of GB and Ireland calls for changes in the way we train surgeons

The Surgical Forum of Great Britain and Ireland has today published a report entitled 'Challenges for the Future of Surgical Training' which calls for changes to surgical training with a particular emphasis on a commitment to tackle the increasing demands of emergency surgical care. We broadly welcome the full report which can be downloaded at

Launching the discussion paper, John MacFie, Chair of the Surgical Forum, said: "The conventional training and role of surgeons in some specialities is no longer appropriate to meet the demands of a changing society, where emergency surgery is the most common reason for hospital admission - something that will only increase with our growing ageing population and changing patterns to patient care. Safety and the best possible outcome for our patients are at the heart of all we do. To achieve these, we need a different surgical landscape for the future where in certain specialities we create consultants with a greater focus on providing emergency care."

The Forum argues that increasing specialisation and targets for elective surgery have led to a depletion of support for emergency care and believes that standards for emergency surgery are often variable and outcomes inconsistent. As such the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow supports the general thrust of the paper that includes calls to;

  • ensure adequate resources for emergency surgery cover
  • address work/life balance issues in the profession to attract the best candidates into surgery
  • focus training to meet the needs of patients and the health service
  • reaffirm the importance of a consultant led and delivered emergency surgical service and clearly defining the evolving role of consultants in specialisation and leadership
  • use the expertise of the royal colleges in workforce planning
  • recognise that the requirements for different surgical specialties vary and a one size fits all approach is not appropriate
  • The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow have had an input along with the other Surgical Royal Colleges and the Surgical Specialty Associations to the evolution of this paper. We would, however, encourage all Surgical Fellows and Members from all specialties to consider the document and to feedback views both to inform this College and to feedback to the next meeting of the Surgical Forum as this paper will be used as a consensus view in ongoing discussions over reconfiguration of surgical services.
  • Please send us views to no later than Friday 5th April 2013.

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    John Fellows

    Public Affairs Manager

    +44 (0) 141 221 6072

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