Article Text

Improving the education and experience of foundation doctors in general surgery
  1. Gareth Martel,
  2. Cathy Magee
  1. NHS
  1. Correspondence to
    Gareth Martel gmartel{at}


Reduced working hours and fragmentation of the surgical firm has resulted in a gradual change in FY1 duties. Locally, FY1 doctors were no longer routinely seeing surgical emergency admissions, while FY1s informally reported reduced confidence in dealing with surgical emergencies. The goal of this project was to assess the current training of FY1 doctors within the unit, and to attempt to improve this by increasing exposure to surgical emergencies.

Two months into their four month surgical rotation, FY1s completed an anonymous online survey that focused on their confidence in dealing with emergency surgical admissions. Working practice was then changed by the creation of a formal emergency foundation year one (FY1) rota, and the introduction of a baton bleep. The expectation was that all emergency admissions would be clerked by an FY1 doctor. The cohort were asked to repeat the survey after implementation of change.

Across all areas assessed, the confidence and experience of the junior doctors was improved. Initially 70% of FY1s felt exposure to emergency surgical cases was inadequate, falling to 0% after the intervention. This was associated with a rise in the average number of acute cases clerked by each FY1 per week from 1.2 to 4.0. At baseline, only 30% of those surveyed felt that they were gaining the skills and experience necessary to prepare them for an FY2 job in general surgery, and after the intervention this increased to 100%.

The increased pressures of service provision within reduced working hours does not necessitate the exclusion FY1 doctors from the assessment and management of surgical emergencies. We have demonstrated that preserving this exposure is a priority in the training of junior doctors, resulting in more experienced and confident medical staff.

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