found at internurse.com
nurses can be surgeons
plans to enable non-doctors to become surgeons were announced yesterday.
nurses, physiotherapists and operating theatre assistants will all have the opportunity to train to perform minor surgery.
the government launched a consultation on setting up a training programme for surgical care practitioners.
practitioners have been in place since 1989 - but the aim of the new programme is to encourage more staff to take on the role.
under supervision of a surgeon, the practitioners would perform minor surgery and run out-patient clinics for care before and after operations, under the proposals.
the department of health said this would boost medical training as many of these routine tasks are performed by junior doctors.
hugh phillips, president of the royal college of surgeons, said it welcomed surgical care practitioners as members of the extended surgical team.
he said: "the college has enshrined in the curriculum framework for surgical care practitioners, the standards it will expect of those qualifying to practice in this role, and will continue to influence their development. the college would wish to approve those institutions that would offer programmes of education and training".
health minister lord warner said: "the nhs is working hard to give patients faster access to care. by developing the roles of healthcare staff we are able to offer patients skilled practitioners who are able to carry out simple surgical procedures - freeing up doctors to deal with more difficult cases."
but the british medical association said it was puzzled as to how the scheme would work - and warned it could place "significant demands" on the time of consultants.
simon eccles, chairman of the bma's junior doctors' committee, said patients had a right to know if their operation was not being performed by a doctor.
he said: "we welcome well-thought out measures to expand the clinical team, expand capacity to perform operations, and for nurses to extend their skills into areas such as minor surgery.
"but we are concerned over how these proposals would be implemented. doctors in training must get as much experience as possible to hone their skills, as they train to be the surgeons of tomorrow."
date: march 25th 2005
also see:new nurses to perform surgery