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Surgeons criticise trust’s use of care practitioner to perform laparoscopic cholecystectomies

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 13 May 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q1075
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Kent

Surgeons have expressed alarm after learning of a surgical care practitioner (SCP) performing laparoscopic cholecystectomies at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England council, which met on 9 May, voiced “serious concerns about the impact and potential safety risks to patients, including how these were raised through patient consent, and potential medicolegal ramifications.”

The operations came to light when the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England published a case series detailing 170 laparoscopic cholecystectomies performed by an SCP between 2015 and 2019.1 The journal is published by the Royal College of Surgeons of England but is editorially independent.

In a statement the college council said that SCPs should not undertake laparoscopic cholecystectomies with or without supervision. It said that the operation is outside the agreed scope of practice for SCPs as set out in the curriculum framework for the surgical practitioner.

The council also expressed concern about the impact of denying training opportunities to surgeons in training and specialist, associate specialist, and specialty (SAS) doctors. “It is essential that surgeons in training do not miss out on training opportunities and that their trainers have a clear focus on providing the best possible training,” said …

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