Magazine article Public Finance

DoH Plans More Surgical Assistants

Magazine article Public Finance

DoH Plans More Surgical Assistants

Article excerpt

More nurses and physiotherapists will be able to perform unsupervised surgery if proposals put forward last week are agreed.

The Department of Health and the NHS Modernisation Agency are seeking views on the training such staff would need to qualify as surgical care practitioners.

These are defined as health professionals who assist surgeons at pre- and post-operative outpatient clinics, and carry out some supervised minor surgery, such as the removal of skin lesions.

About 400 SCPs are already working in surgical teams across the UK but the DoH is keen to boost numbers to up to 3,000 and harmonise training standards.

Health minister Lord Warner said expanding the number of SCPs would free doctors to deal with more difficult cases. 'The role of a surgical care practitioner is not a new one - some NHS staff have been performing this type of role since 1989,' he said.

'We hope that by creating a detailed education curriculum framework it will encourage health care professionals to develop their skills and formalise the role of surgical practitioners nationwide. …

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