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Military surgery in the new curriculum: whither general surgery training in uniform?
  1. Neil Shastri-Hurst1,
  2. D N Naumann1,
  3. D M Bowley1,2 and
  4. T Whitbread2
  1. 1Department of General Surgery, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Joint Medical Command, Lichfield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Gp Capt Tim Whitbread, HQ JMC, Coltman House, DMS Whittington, Lichfield, UK. WS14 9PY; SGJMCMEDD-DCASurg{at}


Background The nature of general surgical training within the UK has undergone significant changes recently, including the evolution of the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP). In 2013, new task-specific goals tailored towards military surgery were incorporated into the general surgery curriculum. In order to meet the demands of training the next generation of military general surgeons, a new compendium of workplace-based assessments (WBAs) is now required.

Addressing the need In 2013, the ISCP general surgery curriculum was revised to include new, military-specific WBAs to allow formative assessment of a trainees’ experience and preparedness for their future deployed role. Index procedures considered mandatory for a deployed military general surgeon to be effective in the field are now included in the general surgery curriculum. These will permit formative assessment of trainees and also permit revalidation of deployed skills among the consultant cadre.

Conclusions General surgical training in the UK is in a transitional period, and the move towards increased sub-specialisation appears inexorable as evidenced by the split of Vascular Surgery into a separate specialty, along with its own training pathway and curriculum. With the ‘generalist’ demands on deployed surgeons in the Defence Medical Services, the task of training towards broader surgical competencies may appear daunting. Inclusion of defined military WBAs into the curriculum should help focus trainees and their trainers to identify the deployed general surgical skill set, identify the appropriate learning opportunities/placements required to enable the acquisition of relevant competencies and document their attainment and later retention.

  • Military Surgery
  • Medical Education & Training
  • Curriculum

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