|Bonds of friendship|
|Saturday, 01 January 2011|
In September 2010 the College of Surgeons of Hong Kong and the RCSEd joined forces for a conjoint scientific meeting. Following that success, the President of the Hong Kong College, Dr Luk Hung To discusses the benefits of co-operation and responding to professional challenges on behalf of his college’s members
The link in surgical training between Edinburgh and Hong Kong dates back almost 50 years and the first Fellowship Examination conducted by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Hong Kong was held in 1966.
The connection between the RCSEd and the Hong Kong surgical community has developed throughout these years, and became even stronger after the establishment of the College of Surgeons of Hong Kong in 1990. In the past, we adopted the Edinburgh training programme and examination, but rapid development in specialisation, knowledge and technological advancement led to a major change in training programmes and differences have emerged between the Edinburgh and Hong Kong system. There are various reasons such as differences in ethic groups and hence different disease patterns, the division of work in various specialties, and, most recently, a reduction in trainees’ working hours which is lower in the UK than in Hong Kong – a 48-hour week verses a 65-hour week.
"Our College responded to a reduction in trainees’ hours with the introduction of a matrix approach, meaning a combination of competencybased as well as time-based training programmes’"
Despite these differences, the bond between the two Colleges has only strengthened because we share a similar vision. We acknowledge a universal standard of surgical practice and that there might be different pathways for trainees to achieve the universal standard, which is safe-guarded by appropriate examinations. The pathways are of course well-structured, closely monitored and assessed and examinations tailored for local needs. With the same concept, we answered a request from elite centres in China and accredited four centres for general surgery training, leading to intermediate and exit examinations with conferment of Fellowship of both Colleges. We will move ahead with other eligible centres in China and explore the possibility of accrediting centres for training in other surgical specialties.
As mentioned earlier, a major challenge we are facing is the reduction in trainees’ working hours. Our College responded with the introduction of a matrix approach, meaning a combination of competency-based as well as time-based training programmes. A trainee has to fulfill both required competencies and a minimum time of clinical exposure, and pass the exit examination before conferment of Fellowship. We also explore the introduction of a simulation-based training model for both technical and non-technical skills. There is great potential for collaboration between us to design a validated simulation-based training model to better prepare our trainees in the light of reduced clinical exposure.
Our College is also a CME/CPD provider, helping our Fellows to stay up-to-date in their knowledge and skills. Besides training and academic activities, our College also organises leisure activities to build fraternity among its Fellows.
Last but not least, Hong Kong is a vibrant city and we welcome visitors from all over the world. The majority of visitors do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong and there are lots of things to do and see. You are always welcome in particular when we are hosting our Annual Scientific Meeting, usually around September, which is the best time to visit Hong Kong. We hold a biennial Conjoint Scientific Meeting with the RCSEd and the next one will be in September 2012. So mark your diary and see you in Hong Kong.
Dr Luk Hung To, President, the College of Surgeons of Hong Kong