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Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 186, Issue 1, pp 225–233 | Cite as

What is the future for General Surgery in Model 3 Hospitals?

  • K. MealyEmail author
  • F. Keane
  • P. Kelly
  • G. Kelliher
Original Article

Abstract

Background

General Surgery consultant recruitment poses considerable challenges in Model 3 Hospitals in Ireland.

Aim

The aim of this paper is to examine General Surgery activity and consultant staffing in order to inform future manpower and service planning.

Methods

General surgical activity in Model 3 Hospitals was examined using the validated 2014 Hospital Inpatient Enquiry (HIPE) dataset. Current consultant staffing was ascertained from hospital personnel departments and all trainees on the National Surgical Training Programme were asked to complete a questionnaire on their career intentions.

Results

Model 3 Hospitals accounted for 50% of all General Surgery discharges. In the elective setting, 51.5% of all procedures were endoscopic investigations and in the acute setting only 22% of patients underwent an operation. Most surgical procedures were of low acuity and included excision of minor lesions, appendicectomy, cholecystectomy and hernia repair. Of 76 General Surgeons who work in Model 3 Hospitals 25% were locums and 54% had not undergone formal training in Ireland. A further 22% of these surgeons will retire in the next five years. General Surgical trainees surveyed indicated an unwillingness to take up posts in Model 3 Hospitals, while 83% indicated that a post in a Model 4 Hospital is ‘most desirable’. Lack of attractiveness related to issues regarding rotas, lack of ongoing skill enhancement, poor experience in the management of complex surgical conditions, limited research and academic opportunity, isolation from colleagues and poor trainee support.

Conclusions

These data indicated that an impending General Surgery consultant manpower crisis can only be averted in Model 3 Hospitals by either major change in the emphasis of surgical training or a significant reorganisation of surgical services.

Keywords

General surgical activity Manpower Recruitment Retention Model 3 hospital 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Clinical Programme in SurgeryRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Surgical Affairs Operations and Planning, Surgical AffairsRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandDublin 2Ireland

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