Evaluation of the national Improving Surgical Training pilot

Training for surgeons is changing. A new training programme, informed by the Royal College of Surgeons, Health Education England and sector partners, is being piloted across England, Scotland and Wales. The Improving Surgical Training programme has several elements including protected supervision time for training in trainers' job plans, support for obtaining the appropriate practical opportunities to gain the relevant curriculum-defined skills, simulation-based training, and a competence based curriculum. These different elements are being trialled and tested in post graduate training sites across England. The programme has been designed to respond to lower levels of satisfaction amongst trainees compared with other specialties, and concerns about securing sufficient training time within rota and shift work allocations. The competency-based pilot started in August 2018 for trainees who had completed 4-6 years of medical school and two foundation years. Trainees can choose to apply for the pilot training or the business as usual route i.e. core surgical training.

SQW is evaluating this pilot within England from February 2019 to December 2021. The evaluation will explore the programme features and mechanisms, including how it differs from the business as usual model, and trainee and trainer experiences. It will explore the counterfactual and any negative or unintended consequences, and will explore impacts at trainee, trainer, service and programme levels. The evaluation will draw on existing data as well as capturing additional insights, generating both context specific and generalisable findings regarding the programme.

For more information about the evaluation of Improving Surgical Training, please contact Lauren Roberts, SQW Director, via lroberts@sqw.co.uk. For more information about the Improving Surgical Training programme, please contact ist@rcseng.ac.uk.