Intended for healthcare professionals


Simulation training to become part of surgical curriculum

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 06 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6706
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. 1BMJ Careers

Simulation training will now be included in the surgical curriculum, the Joint Committee of Surgical Training has said.

Sallie Nicholas, head of the committee, an advisory body to the four surgical royal colleges of the UK and Ireland, said that simulation training would not be a compulsory part of the intercollegiate surgical curriculum programme for this year but that it would be “highly recommended or desirable.” The curriculum provides the UK framework for surgical training from completion of the foundation years through to consultant level.

Nicholas said that the committee would like to see simulation training become a compulsory part of the curriculum in the long term. “But obviously there needs to be a bit of monitoring first, and everyone needs to be sure that there is equitable provision across the country,” she said.

Currently access to simulation training varies across the country, and one of the reasons for including it in the syllabus was to try to increase provision, Nicholas said. “Some areas have invested quite heavily, while others perhaps aren’t quite as far forward,” she said.

One advantage of simulation training was that it could help improve patient safety, a key concern highlighted by Robert Francis in the report of his inquiry into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust,1 Nicholas said.

“We’re trying to get to a position where surgical trainees get to practise in a simulated situation before they have a go on a live patient. It’s really a question of giving people a chance to build their confidence in a safe setting.”

She added, “If you’re looking at patient safety then we think there’s a very strong link between simulation and patient safety.”