The Flexner report, a series of studies about education in healthcare, published just over 100 years ago sparked radical reforms in the education of healthcare professionals. The result was the creation of a curriculum that equipped healthcare professionals with a knowledge base that contributed to the doubling of lifespan during the 20th century. Recently the Lancet report on “Global Surgery” has highlighted that all is not well in global surgery, this may well be a stimulus for reform of the current surgical training and delivery model.
The Lancet commission finds that whilst there are just over seven billion people on earth, five billion do not have access to safe surgery. These inequalities exist both within and between countries, a reminder that geography remains a strong determinant of patient outcomes.
The global situation is impacted doubly by an aging population that is driving demand; as well as, a reduced workforce supply with a dwindling talent pool of surgeons. The latest figures argue the global surgical workforce will need to double in the next 15 years to cope with current demands. The global impact is such that both the World Health Organisation and World Bank said in 2014 that identifying and improving surgical capabilities is an essential step to raising health and economic standards around the world.
In a world that has never been so well connected, where a “tweet” can behave like a virus, quickly becoming epidemic, and where technology has enabled video conversations across multiple time zones, why have we been unable to improve the standard of surgical training and delivery globally?
Image Credit: Touch Surgery