General paediatric surgery for patients aged under 5 years: a 5-year experience at a district general hospital

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The gradual shift of general paediatric surgery (GPS) provision from district general hospitals (DGH) to specialised units is well recognised in the UK. The consequences of centralisation include a reduction in exposure to GPS for current surgical trainees. The GPS practice of a DGH is examined here.


All operations performed on children aged under 5 years over a 5-year period were identified using the local electronic operation database. Electronic hospital records and clinic letters were accessed to collect data on demographics, operations performed and outcome measures.


472 GPS operations were performed on children between the age of 22 days and 5 years between 2009 and 2014, of which 43 were on an emergency basis and 105 were performed on patients aged less than 1 year. Three patients were admitted following day case surgery. Six patients were readmitted within 30 days. Complication rates for all procedures and the four most common procedures were similar to those found in published literature.


GPS for patients aged less than 5 years is comparatively safe in the DGH setting. The training opportunities available at DGHs are invaluable to surgical trainees and vital for sustaining the future provision of GPS by such hospitals.

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