Views And Reviews

Irrational numbers in surgical training

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j883 (Published 20 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j883
  1. Jonathan Glass, consultant urologist and lead clinician for urology
  1. Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust
  1. jonathan.glass{at}gstt.nhs.uk

I enjoy numbers. I enjoy the accuracy they provide and the guidance they give in the practise of clinical medicine. In medicine we should not allow numbers to be arbitrarily bandied about, yet this still happens.

If you were applying for a certificate of completion of training (CCT) in urology in 2015 you had to have seen or assisted in at least 20 radical prostatectomies before being signed off as competent. A year later, for no apparent reason, it appears that 10 will do.

Changes to the required numbers of various procedures to which a trainee needs to be exposed are often made year on year, and yet failure to achieve these “indicative numbers” is …

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