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Cut the Rope (with a No.10 Scalpel)

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23 Oct 2013

The newest advances in simulation technology such as those used in aviation are today being unveiled at the Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s (www.rcsed.ac.uk) Faculty of Surgical Trainers, taking place at the MacDonald Burlington Hotel in Birmingham.

The meeting entitled, "Playing for real: Simulation In Surgical Training" will explore how patient safety can be improved if trainee surgeons use simulation to enhance their performance – in a similar way that pilots do before they are allowed to fly.

Surgical simulation is a current hot topic, with the Joint Committee on Surgical Training (the main advisory body to the Royal Colleges) implementing simulation into the curricula of all surgical specialties. With this in mind, the Faculty of Surgical Trainers – the only body of its kind in the UK, which is open to all those interested in training regardless of College affiliation – has brought together world experts on simulation including a Professor of Surgery from Harvard Medical School as well as an ex-Concorde pilot and Training Captain for British Airways.

According to Craig McIlhenny, Surgical Director of the Faculty of Surgical Trainers;

"Many other high-risk sectors are years ahead of us on using simulation to train their teams – most notably aviation. We need to bridge decades’ worth of deficit and introduce the advantages of this model to the world of surgery. I personally feel safe in the knowledge that when I fly with my family, the pilot has spent long hours in the simulator before he is let anywhere near his plane – are you going to be happy if during your operation a junior surgeon is trying to master a basic skill, when they could have spent hours on the simulator and eliminated that learning curve beforehand?”

The Keynote speaker for the meeting is Dr. Douglas Smink, from the prestigious and high-tech STRATUS (Simulation, Training, Research and Technology Utilization System) Centre for Medical Simulation Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Former Concorde pilot Captain David Rowland from British Airways will also address the meeting.

Craig McIlhenny, who is a consultant urological surgeon, adds:

"We’re honoured and delighted to have Dr. Douglas Smink over from Harvard to give a state of the art talk on using simulation to teach the technical aspects of surgery – alongside non-technical skills such as communication and teamwork which are essential for patient safety. I’m also really looking forward hearing Captain David Rowland on the role of simulation during his training to fly one of the greatest aircraft in the world”.

The meeting will showcase state-of-the-art simulation, from a theoretical, educational and practical viewpoint.  Mr Ian Ritchie, President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh says;

"We are delighted to be holding such an important event in Birmingham, a city which hosts our own brand new base in England. Attendees will gain a better understanding of what simulation is capable of, what is being achieved and practiced currently, and find out how this technology can be used to improve surgical training for the future”.


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