Objective: To investigate the impact of decade-long dedicated laparoscopic urology surgical skills course on the successful implementation of surgical services by the participants.
Methods: A prospective database was maintained for all the participants in urological laparoscopic courses run by a single dedicated unit between January 2016 and December 2016. Data on various variables were collected using a follow-up validated questionnaire exploring speciality of clinical practice, challenges and need for additional training to establish clinical services, improvement in quality and frequency of laparoscopic courses. A subset of participants reported data of their outcomes in a national database available publically.
Results: One hundred sixty one delegates were drawn from 18 countries attended laparoscopic skills courses during the study period of 10 years. Data were available for 154 (95.65%) participants. There were only 20 (20/154; 12.9%) responses to online website questionnaires despite 3 reminders. Further, follow-up through websites/telephonic contact/organizational contacts improved the response rate to 93% (143/154). Of the participants, 95% (135/143) felt that these courses should be continued, and they agreed to recommend them to their trainees in the future. More than 50% (81/143; 56.6%) of the participants performed laparoscopic/robotic surgery at various centers. Sixty two (62/143; 43.3%) did not pursue laparoscopic surgery as a career choice. Fifty six (56/81; 69%) participants were established laparoscopic surgeons were from the UK, and of them, 30 (30/56; 53.57%: 30/81; 37.04%) were established surgeons that contributed to publishing their results through professional organizations with the outcomes of all of these within normal ranges of their peers.
Conclusions: A dedicated laparoscopic urological surgery course run over a decade had a significant impact on the skills of participants, and most participants were able to establish clinical practice catering to a large proportion of the UK population as well as a few centers internationally.