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Training in large bowel cancer surgery

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 31 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:317

Trainees' lack of operative experience is of even greater concern

  1. William H Isbister, Consultant (
  1. Department of Surgery, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, PO Box 3354, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia
  2. University Department of Surgery, QE II Medical Centre, Nedlands, Perth, WA, Australia

    EDITOR—Aitken et al report three regional audits of training in large bowel cancer surgery in the United Kingdom.1 The lack of supervision of surgical trainees that they report constitutes a failure of the training programme, but an equally important failure of the programme seems to be the relative infrequency with which the operations audited (right hemicolectomies and anterior resections) were performed.

    According to my calculations from the paper, there were 196 specialist registrar posts at the time of the audit; trainees undertook 1300 right hemicolectomies and 571 anterior resections over four years. If my interpretation of these data is correct, during a single year a trainee could expect to …

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