Thoracic surgery in a crisis

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7334.376 (Published 16 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:376

New report outlines dire shortage of thoracic surgeons

  1. Martyn R Partridge, professor of respiratory medicine
  1. Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Charing Cross Campus, London W6 8RP

    In the United Kingdom all specialties and primary care are calling out for more doctors. The government's response has been to open more medical schools and increase the places in existing schools. Clearly this will not address today's problems and the numbers may be too small to address tomorrow's. One response should be for us all to examine whether we currently deliver care in the most effective manner. Some specialties have been more innovative than others in sharing the workload with nursing colleagues, but a shortage of nurses means that this is only a partial solution. Making patients more equal partners and enhancing their ability to care more for themselves is another approach, but is applicable only to certain aspects of care.

    The recent report from a joint working party of the British Thoracic Society and the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland suggests that thoracic surgery especially deserves …

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