GPs with enhanced surgical skills: a questionable solution for remote surgical services

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Abstract

Summary

The Canadian College of Family Physicians recently decided to recognize family physicians with enhanced surgical skills (ESS) and has proposed a 1-year curriculum of surgical training. The purpose of this initiative is to bring or enhance surgical services to remote and underserviced areas. We feel that this proposed curriculum is overly ambitious and unrealistic and that it is unlikely to produce surgeons, or a system, capable of delivering high-quality surgical services. The convergence of a new training curriculum for general surgeons, coupled with the current oversupply of surgeons, provide an alternate pathway to meet the needs of these communities. A long-term solution will also require alternate funding models, a sophisticated and coordinated national locum service and a national review of the population and infrastructure requirements necessary for both sustainable resident surgical services and surgical outreach services.

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