Magoosh GRE

Free Surgical Care Practitioner Essay

| October 20, 2011 | 1 Comment

Surgical Care Practitioner

Since its introduction there has been much hostility towards the new professional role of the surgical care practitioner (SCP) within the surgical community. However as the outlook of the NHS is rapidly being modified and European influence in the form of the European Workforce Team are being directed and beginning to have effect in theUK, it is evidently proving to have a huge impact on theUKworkforce (Kneebone 2005).


IN 2005, the National association for assistant surgical practitioners defined the working title of the SCP.


“A non-medical practitioner, working in clinical practice as a member of the extended surgical team, who performs surgical intervention, pre-operative and post-operative care under the direction and supervision of a consultant surgeon



From the period of 2001-2005 the Changing Workforce programme (CWP) was responsible for pioneering and re-creating roles as well as modifying the capacity of existing ones. In collaboration with the National Practitioner Collaboration Programme (NPP), this subsequently led to the expansion of roles known as “practitioners”, distinct from the traditional nurse practitioner (Cheang et al 2009).



The SCP role is considered to be a nationally transferable role (NTR), a number of new roles, which emerged to reduce the waiting times across theUK. Consequently four groupings were created consisting of 30 new roles; amongst them the SCP is part of the “Advanced practitioner” group (DoH 2010)(website 1). Registered healthcare professions- most likely originally nurses, physiotherapists or operating department practitioners who went on to gain additional qualifications and training went on to become SCPs.


The introduction of the SCP role was created to alleviate the problems of unsustainable turnover and training of doctors. The role of SCPS both complements the government’s commitment to enhancing career opportunities within the field of healthcare and also develops a flexible training framework that is built on the competence of individuals’ rather than fixed traditional roles such those of doctors and nurses (Kneebone 2005)


Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust reveal the cost savings of some advanced practitioner roles which have for “each half-day session stated as saving £10k per year in consultant time”. Additionally, the time saved by the consultant can be diverted to increased surgery time (website 1)


A four-year prospective study carried out at St Marys Hospital Trust inLondonwhere the SCP performed over 130 minor surgical procedures. Although the Hospital recognised the controversy surrounding the role of the SCP due to patient perception, in this case it was proven the SCP provided an important role in new treatment centres which ran parallel to medically run day surgery lists. This reflected a huge benefit in that surgeons were freed up to concentrate on more acute surgical care if they wished (Martin et al, 2007).


The core issues from the literature point towards hostility due to lack of clarity between the roles. Role definition can certainly alleviate a lot of issues concerning inter-professional animosity

A study carried out by Cheang et al 2009 shows responses to questions regarding hospital visits. In total 190 questionnaires were fully completed with an age range of 12-83 years old (average age 49 yrs) and 60% of respondents were female.

As can be seen from the figures in the study the majority of respondents (92%) indicated if they needed an operation a trained medically qualified person should carry it out.  So patient perception according to this is still a critical area that needs to be addressed in the future.


These results show wider implications than it seems regarding the creation of care practitioners. A thoughtful analysis is needed on patient, surgeons (especially trainees) and the health service as a whole according to this study


On a daily basis SCPs work under the guidance of the operating surgeon as an extended member of the medical team. and are therefore clinically responsible to the consultant surgeon for all clinical activities they undertake as well as the rest of the surgical team with the aim to provide the best care for patients. SCPs. work in many surgical specialities including general surgery, orthopaedics, gynaecology, cardiac surgery and urology. Their role incorporates pre-operative assessments, taking part during surgery, carrying out minor procedures and post-operatively in the out- patient clinic. Evaluation of the Advanced Practitioner Roles (2008)


Through obtaining mostly quantative data from teams, which have incorporated, an SCP it is clear there are both time and cost savings to be made. •In terms of training: a direct comparison can be made between the time it takes in training a SCP (approx 2 years under current programme) to that of a junior doctor reaching consultant level status in specialities (roughly 10 years). • Further to this utilisation of the SCP in the operating theatre is further enhanced as they are available full time throughout the week and are a permanent member of the surgical team. This is quite different from the rotating Senior House Officer or specialist registrar. presence in the OT allows free time for the experienced SHO from the more simple duties (Martin et al, 2007)(website 2).


PapworthHospitalis one example of an NHS hospital which very much champions the SCP role immensely., In an article in 2005 made a point that SCPs now form an integral part of of their clinical team. It waters down the argument of depriving junior doctors in favour of training SCPs and emphasis all its team members aid learning complimenting each other rather than be in competition (website-3).




Future directions to analyse cost effectiveness may be highlighted, recently. An impact model created as result of the Evaluation of the Advanced Practitioner Roles (2008), shows all elements which should be considered. The SCP role needs to be incorporated into Business plans and Education and Training Commissioning Plans at sites where they are being utilised.




Cheng. P.P, Weller.M and Hollis.L.J. What is in a name – patients’ view of the involvement of “care practitioners” in their operations. Surgeon 2009; 7; 6: 340-344.


Evaluation of the Advanced Practitioner roles. Miller. L, Cox. A and Williams. J. institute of employment studies



Kneebone. R New professional roles in surgery

Would be effective in selected surgical settings and can offer benefits. BMJ 2005; 330:803–4


Martin. S, Purkayastha. S, Massey. R, Paraskeva. P, Tekkis. P, Kneebone.R and Darzi. A. The surgical care practitioner: a feasible alternative: Results of a prospective 4-year audit at St Marys Hospital Trust. Ann R Coll Surg Eng 2007; 89: 30-35.




National Association Assistants in Surgical Practice (NAASP 2005). What is a surgical care practitioner?


[Skills for health. Impact of Nationally Transferable Roles on Productivity –

Building an Evidence Base

March DoH 2010


Website 1:


Website 2:  (Guys andSt Thomas’ savings)



Website 3: Dreary. NE, Evans. D, Bryant. S and Nashaf SAM 2006.




Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Essay & Dissertation Samples, Health Essay Examples

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Free Surgical Care Practitioner Essay - | August 31, 2019

Ask a question about this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.