Five billion - the painful truth about access to surgery

Sept2015CoverThe Lancet Commission has reported that billions of people lack access to basic surgical care, setting ambitious targets to deal with the problem. Will the world’s health leaders rise to the challenge?

The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery, which reported in April, demonstrated the immense disparity in the provision of surgical care across the globe. Surgery is an integral component of healthcare, yet access to surgical and anaesthetic care in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) is woefully poor. The commission, which was written by a group of 25 experts with contributions from more than 110 countries, was launched at a day-long symposium at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.

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Shape of things to come

Shape of things to come

Lorna Marson, Alice Hartley and Rachel Thomas, from the College’s flexible working group, discuss the merits of less-than-full-time working for all surgeons


Surgical culture and practice are changing. The number of female applicants to core surgical training (CST) and the female consultant surgeon population is slowly increasing to better reflect society. The EWTD has altered day-to-day surgical working, with a move towards team-based working and, most importantly, the term ‘work-life balance’ is no longer synonymous with weakness or lack of commitment.

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Higher calling

Higher calling

This year’s Faculty of Surgical Trainers conference delivered a comprehensive programme, combining personal insights with research on how to improve training

Take-home practical advice on how to improve as a trainer was one of the key promises ahead of this year’s FST conference in October. The presence of two Silver Scalpel winners among the speakers ensured that this promise was met, and there were also reviews of studies and initiatives from the UK and North America that provided a broader context to personal tips and insights.

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Hands-on healthcare

Hands-on healthcare

Newcastle medical student Toby Hoskins flew to Zambia during the summer for a nine-week placement at Saint Francis’ Hospital

What do metronidazole, gauze and halothane have in common? The absence of them can be just one of the many challenges faced by surgeons at Zambia’s St Francis’ Hospital (SFH), as I found out during my RCSEd Africa elective from 13 June to 14 August this year.

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Joined-up thinking

Surgeons will find it easier to document and submit records of training they provide thanks to collaboration between the College’s Faculty of Surgical Trainers and the ISCP

Anyone with surgical training responsibilities will need to be recognised as such by the General Medical Council (GMC) by 31 July 2016. This process will apply to all trainers in secondary care and is designed to bring surgeons in line with primary care, where trainers have been recognised and approved by the GMC for some time. This process will apply to those who hold a named trainer role in secondary care – that is, those who are either assigned educational supervisors or named clinical supervisors.

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