Surgeons’ fears at staff performing heart and orthopaedic ops after just 2 years training

The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh claims the increasing use of these nurses and theatre assistants at NHS hospitals presents “a continued risk to patients”. The professional body, which has 27,000 members from across the UK, has called for the Government to bring the work of surgical care practitioners (SCPs) under tighter control to “monitor standards and continually train and assess”. It has called on Health Secretary Matt Hancock to ensure the UK’s 600 SCPs are regulated by the General Medical Council.

The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh will hold a meeting next month with The Federation of Surgical Speciality Associations to discuss how to put more pressure on the Government to address this issue. SCPs are allowed to carry out certain surgical procedures after completing an accredited – partly online – training course.

This includes procedures during cardiac bypass surgery and using power tools in orthopaedic surgery for joint replacement.

Although they have to work under the supervision of a consultant, the surgeon does not always have to be in the same room.

Many SCPs previously worked as nurses or theatre assistants and are governed by the bodies which oversee these professions.

Professor Michael Griffin, president of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, said: “A surgeon has to undergo up to 10 years of training to qualify. SCPs are not medically qualified and they are not doctors, although they are expected to do some of the work a surgeon does, which makes it bizarre the Government is not regulating them under the same body as doctors.”

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