In response to the recent announcement by the Department of Health to create 'Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs)', the North East and North Cumbria have submitted an application to become an AHSN.
This project is based at the Newcastle Surgical Training Centre at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The Newcastle Surgical Training Centre (NSTC) was the first purpose built surgical training unit in the UK to use fresh cadaveric tissue and state of the art virtual reality to teach technical skills to surgeons across multiple disciplines. The Postgraduate Certificate in Minimal Access Surgery has been designed to offer surgical trainees an opportunity to practise laparoscopic procedures within a supportive training environment. There are no other training programmes in the UK which can offer such an opportunity to surgical trainees.
The programme aims to enhance and develop cognitive, intellectual and technical skills of surgical trainees by means of: -
HIEC NE is supporting this programme and as such places on the training programme are available to all core surgical trainees based in the North East region.
For further information relating to the Newcastle Surgical Training Centre please visit http://www.nstcsurg.org/
Six trainees successfully completed the year long ‘Postgraduate Certificate in Minimal Access Surgery’ course with five achieving ‘Distinctions’ and one achieving a ‘Merit’. The course was made available to trainee surgeons across the North East region via tutors and the six candidates who completed their studies attended from a range of NHS Trusts including Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland City Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The programme was developed and delivered as two modules:
Module 1: Introductory Theory and Basic Skills in Minimal Access Surgery
This module provided essential knowledge on the theoretical principles and practical techniques of laparoscopic surgery as well as the systemic and local factors that need to be taken into account in planning for surgery. A range of topics were covered including surgical anatomy, physiological changes in laparoscopic surgery, current developments and trends, principles of wound healing, and challenges and benefits of laparoscopic surgery versus open surgery.
All practical laparoscopic skills in this module were taught and practised on Virtual Reality Simulators.
Module 2: Techniques and Intermediate Skills in Minimal Access Surgery
This module provided advanced theoretical knowledge in pre-operative and post-operative management including advanced anatomy and operative steps of specific laparoscopic procedures, operating room set-up, complications and risk factors, and the law of consent.
All practical laparoscopic skills were taught and practised on Virtual Reality Simulators as well as fresh cadavers to understand and develop a range of techniques and intermediate level skills in minimal access surgery.
Students were periodically invited to give feedback to ascertain their satisfaction on various aspects of the provision. This was also used to inform the development of teaching days.
At the end of the programme all students reported that the course met their expectations and all said they would recommend to a colleague.
Feedback from the teaching day sessions is generally very positive. Trainees rated the best features of the course as the ‘interactive teaching’, the ‘cadaveric work’ and ‘box trainers’, the ‘friendly environment’, and having a ‘good mixture of lectures’ which were ‘well organised’.
All trainees rated the overall effectiveness of fresh cadavers in training as ‘Excellent’, in comparison with the overall effectiveness of virtual reality simulators in training which was more variable, ranging from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Satisfactory’. In terms of areas for improvement, trainees requested more practical’s and cadaveric sessions.
An end of the course a survey revealed high levels of trainee satisfaction with the programme as a whole. Feedback showed that trainees scored the course ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ for content, structure, delivery, resources, teaching facilities, administration and value for money. One student rated assessment as ‘Average’. Comments indicated that trainees considered the programme ‘very interesting’; an ‘excellent course’ with ‘excellent speakers’, and as ‘address(ing) all of the key aspects of modern requirements of a general surgeon’.