UK’s Oldest Royal Surgical College Hosts ‘Shape of Training in Scotland’ Launch

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27 Feb 2018

It is accepted that simulation has a key role to play in surgical training and improving patient outcomes. It is particularly relevant as the pressures of service provision mean junior doctors have less time and opportunities to be exposed to hands-on training with real life patients.

Britain’s oldest surgical Royal College, and home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh yesterday welcomed Secretary of State for Health and Sport, Shona Robison, and her commitment to invest nearly £157,000, at the Scottish launch of Shape of Training held at the College.

Ms Robison set out the strategic importance of this work and announced financial support for simulation training in Scotland, awarded by the Government to cover medical and surgical specialities.

The Shape of Medical Training Review (SoTR) was established to consider how medical training could better meet the needs of patients and service providers over the next 30 years. The subsequent UK Shape of Training Steering Group Report, published on 11 August 2017 , made several recommendations as to how the training of doctors should change in relation to postgraduate medical curricula and training pathways in the UK.

Scottish trainers have collaborated to create a two-year simulation training package, which is aligned to the GMC approved curriculum for Core Surgical Training. In the first few months of training, trainees will attend an introductory four-day ‘Boot Camp’. This will advance trainees’ technical and non-technical skills and introduce them to some aspects of remote and rural surgery. This will be followed by attendance at a two-day Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient course which will cover the theoretical basis and practical skills necessary to manage the critically ill surgical patient. Further courses in the second year of the programme will further advance their surgical and laparoscopic skills.

All trainees will be loaned a laparoscopic surgical training simulator to use at home or in the workplace, and regular monthly simulation-based teaching sessions, supported by experienced surgical faculty will be provided regionally in two groups for the west and east of Scotland. Each base hospital where trainees will work will provide consultant-led practical surgical skills sessions on a regular basis, with the emphasis being on simulation-based education.

RCSEd President Michael Lavelle-Jones said:

“Training is a challenge across all medical specialities. Intense clinical workloads, patients with complex needs and multiple co-morbidities create a difficult environment for trainees and trainers alike. The UK-wide Improved Surgical Training pilot which launches this year will help address some of these difficult issues by providing ring-fenced time for trainers to train, optimising day time training opportunities and by using simulated training to give trainees a ‘head start’ in the learning process.

“It is gratifying to see that 49 of these training posts – approximately one half of the UK allocation – are in Scotland especially when you consider that only 10% of the surgical workforce are based here. I commend the decision to invest in the future of surgical training in Scotland.”

Professor Ian G Finlay, Chair of the UK Shape of Training Steering Group said:

"I am delighted that we are progressing with the implementation of the recommendations arising from the Shape of a training Review in Scotland. This will involve implementing a range of measures that we believe will quickly bring tangible benefits for patients, ‎doctors and service providers. I am especially delighted that Scottish Government has supported the development of simulation based training. This will keep us at the forefront of training and help deliver the highly skilled workforce that we need.”

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