Scotland’s trainee surgeons set to attend ‘boot camp’ scheme

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Scotland’s new intake of trainee surgeons are to take part in a new UK-wide pilot scheme described as a ‘boot camp’ which aims to use simulation of an operating theatre to develop their skills.

Trainee surgeons will hone their skills by using a simulation of an operating theatre. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Trainee surgeons will hone their skills by using a simulation of an operating theatre. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The programme which will involve trainees who start next year aims to make simulation using a range of techniques from working on cadavers to Virtual Reality operations, a much more integral part of the course as opposed to learning on the job.

The pilot sites are nine Schools of Surgery and Training Boards throughout the UK, with Scotland providing 49 of the 81 posts available. A total of 18 of the 49 posts will be available for run through General Surgical training and the remainder will be a mixture of generic and themed Core Surgical Training programmes.

The ‘Improving Surgical Training’ (IST) programme aims to - set aside more time for training, create longer placements in each location and enable better progression through competency training.

Professor William Reid Dean of Postgraduate Medicine SE Scotland said they were looking to increase the time trainees spent with mentors.

He said: “We’re looking to make much more formal the kind of support that should be there for trainees and we’re looking to formalise mentoring within the programme. We really want to not only increase the face-to-face time between trainee and trainers but we are also looking to embed simulation and make that a much more part of earlier surgical training.

“We’re excited by the prospects of the Improving Surgical Training pilot.

“It holds out the opportunity of real benefits for trainees, so we’re taking the step of offering it to every one of our posts as soon as possible.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “The ‘Improving Surgical Training’ pilot follows from the UK Shape of Training Steering group report which requires a new approach to how we train doctors, now and in the future, to better meet the needs of patients. This will deliver a more sustainable medical workforce, with more generalist skilled doctors, matching skills and competencies to where they are most needed.”

Shadow Health Secretary Miles Briggs, said: “I welcome the Improving Surgical Training programme and I am glad to see Scotland leading the way with 49 out of the 81 pilot sites across the UK. The programme will provide more comprehensive training for surgeons, more support for trainee surgeons and a higher quality of training. Scottish Conservatives have long advocated protected teaching time for career development.”