Time Out of General Surgery Specialty training in the UK: A National Database Study

Elizabeth J. Elsey (Lead / Corresponding author), Joe West, Gareth Griffiths, David J. Humes

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    4 Citations (Scopus)
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    Objective: General surgery specialty training in the United Kingdom takes 6 years and allows trainees to take time out of training. Studies from the United States have highlighted an increasing trend for taking time out of surgical training for research. This study aimed to evaluate trends in time out of training and the impact on the duration of UK general surgical specialty training.

    Design, setting, and participants: A cohort study using routinely collected surgical training data from the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Program database for General surgery trainees registered from August 1, 2007. Trainees were classified as Completed Training or In-Training. Out of training periods were identified and time in training calculated (both unadjusted and adjusted for out of training periods) with a predicted time in training for those In-Training.

    Results: Of the trainees still In-Training (n = 994), a greater proportion had taken time out of training compared with those who had completed training (n = 360; 54.5% vs 45.9%, p < 0.01). A greater proportion of the In-Training group had undertaken a formal research period compared with the Completed Training group (35.1% vs 6.1%, p < 0.01). Total unadjusted training time in the Completed Training group was a median 6.0 (interquartile range 6.0-7.0) years compared with a predicted unadjusted training time in the In-Training group, with an out of training period recorded, of a median 8.0 (interquartile range 7.0-9.0) years.

    Conclusions: Trainees are increasingly taking time out of surgical training, particularly for research, with a subsequent increase in total time of training. This should be considered when redesigning surgical training programs and planning the future surgical workforce.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55-64
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Surgical Education
    Issue number1
    Early online date6 Aug 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


    • Academic training
    • Fellowships
    • Program design
    • Research
    • Residency
    • Surgical workforce

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery
    • Education


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