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J Obstet Gynaecol. 2008 Jul;28(5):474-7. doi: 10.1080/01443610802083930.

Impact of Calman system and recent reforms on surgical training in gynaecology.

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West Wales General Hospital, Glangwili, UK.


Specialist training in the UK has been affected by changes in recent years aimed at a reduction in junior doctors' working hours to comply with employment regulations and the introduction of structured training with specified duration. The Calman reforms implemented in 1996 introduced a focussed system with defined competencies and a shorter training period. The previous system was based on experience gained in an apprentice-type setting with no defined duration of training. The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) regulates the number of working hours for junior doctors and aims for a 48-h working week by 2009. In the surgical disciplines a reduction in working hours and shorter duration of training could adversely affect the acquisition of operative skills. The concern among trainees and their trainers was that surgical exposure has been reduced and therefore trainees have limited surgical experience by the time they complete training. We conducted this study in a teaching district hospital to determine the effect of recent changes on gynaecological surgical training. We found that there was a 27% reduction in surgical activity between 1995 and 2005 from 3,789 to 2,781, whereas the number of trainees had increased by 67% from 6 to 10. The proportion of operative procedures performed by trainees decreased from 55% (2,078/3,789) in 1995 to 34% (951/2,781) in 2005 (p < 0.001). The average number of procedures performed by each trainee in 2005 was 95 compared with 346 in 1995, a 73% reduction (p < 0.001). Innovative approaches to surgical training in gynaecology are required to produce a competent surgeon in a shorter time, or the risk of future consultants having limited surgical experience will increase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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