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

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

Can J Surg 2015;58(5):369-371 | PDF

Christopher Vinden, MD; Michael C. Ott, MD, MSc


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.

See also the editorial on p. 364, the commentary by Warnock and Miles on p. 367, and the discussion paper by Caron and colleagues on p. 419

Accepted for publication Nov. 3, 2015

Affiliations: From the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ont. (Vinden, Ott).

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: Both authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing and revision of this commentary and approved the final version for publication.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.015215

Correspondence to: C. Vinden, London Health Sciences Centre, Victoria Hospital, 800 Commissioners Rd E, Rm E2-218, London ON., N6A 5W9;