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Trailblazing scheme to train our future NHS surgeons recognised with HSJ award

Patricia and Veeru

Pictured are Veeru and surgery specialty manager Patricia Murphy with the award

Our Academy of Surgery, an innovative training scheme for doctors wishing to pursue a surgical career, won the People and Organisational Development Initiative of the Year at last night’s (Thursday 2 September) HSJ Value awards.

Our Academy of Surgery, an innovative training scheme for doctors wishing to pursue a surgical career, won the People and Organisational Development Initiative of the Year at last night’s (Thursday 2 September) HSJ Value awards.

The trailblazing scheme is not only providing an essential training route for our surgeons of tomorrow, it’s also bringing a rich diversity to our Trust and the wider NHS – having attracted interest from doctors across the world, 14 countries to be exact, including Iraq, Egypt and Pakistan.

Veeru Shatkar, consultant and our general surgery lead, heads up the academy, which following its launch in October 2018 has equipped its first group of junior doctors with the skills needed to move onto their higher level training posts.

Despite the success of the academy, Veeru was surprised to win. He said: “I was extremely shocked as it was such a strong category. However, I was ecstatic to get this recognition for our academy, which is down to the teamwork of everyone involved.

“At a time when we need more doctors in the NHS, we must have a proper training platform for them. That is what our academy is; we are training our doctors of the future. It’s also helping to bring more diversity into our surgical workforce, which was praised in a Royal College of Surgeons review of diversity and inclusion.

“Going forward I want to expand, which will benefit not only our Surgery division, but our whole Trust. We are becoming known for our training and I am constantly receiving calls from doctors all over the world interested in what we are doing.”

The Academy of Surgery, which offers rotations equivalent to the national level training programme, initially offered six posts. However, due to overwhelming international interest, this was increased to 26. As many of the first group of trainees have moved onto the next stage of their careers, a new batch of around 20 doctors from across the world have joined, with recruitment for more currently underway.

Our Chief Executive, Matthew Trainer, said: “We are very proud of our Surgery team for winning this award.

“I can see how vital an initiative like our Academy of Surgery is, having spent time in our ‘green zone’ at King George Hospital. This Covid-secure space is helping us to carry out planned surgery safely and reduce the pandemic backlog.

“This bespoke training programme is training our surgeons of the future and bringing more diversity and experience to our Trust.”

Our Surgery team was also shortlisted in three other categories in the awards: the Operations and Performance Initiative of the Year category for relocating trauma services to the private-sector at the beginning of the pandemic; our Bones project to carry out a higher number of planned operation than usual was shortlisted for HSJ Value Award of the Year; and our subspecialist twinning programme which offers training to become advanced surgical care practitioners and physician associates as Acute Service Redesign Initiative.

Pictured top are Veeru and surgery specialty manager Patricia Murphy with the award.

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