Surgeons from across the world will gather in Glasgow today (Thursday 29 November) to discuss the future of rural surgery in Scotland at a two-day conference organised by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.
The event, held in partnership with the network of remote and rural surgeons, the Viking Surgeons’ Club, will discuss some of the practical challenges of carrying out a 21st century service in a rural environment and will hear from international experts from as far afield as Canada and the Arctic Circle in Sweden. Surgical trainees based in Scotland have been invited to attend this event for free as a means to promote rural surgery as a future career.
Speaking ahead of the event, former Consultant Surgeon at Fort William’s Belford Hospital, David Sedgewick said:
"Around a quarter of a million people in Scotland live in the catchment areas of rural general hospitals, and the viability of these areas depends on the existence of a capable health system which includes the provision of quality surgical care. Without local service provision, residents of remote areas could face the prospect of a long road journey or a flight in order to access a surgeon's care.
"At the same time, the maintenance of resident surgical services has become increasingly challenging in recent years.
"This is partly due to the increasing sub-specialisation in surgery, combined with the centralisation of services in bigger urban hospitals. Our experience has also been that many surgeons also prefer to live in towns or cities rather than in rural Scotland.
"That’s why this important conference brings together rural surgeons, city centre consultants and Scottish surgical trainees, so that we can discuss robust ways of maintaining standards of surgical care in rural general hospitals with support from the urban units. We’ve also invited trainee surgeons in Scotland to attend for free so that they can hear more about this challenging but rewarding work, and to learn more about what’s involved in pursuing a career in rural general surgery.
"There is an urgent need to encourage surgeons into rural practice, and so we hope that this event will play a part in encouraging everyone involved in our health services to promote this vital part of our health service.”