Surgeons from West may head for OTs here

Indian doctors, especially surgeons, have for long held that government hospitals with their large number of patients are among the best training grounds. Now, in an extension of that belief, trainee surgeons from the West starved of experience due to regulations restricting time spent in operation theatres there could head to private hospitals in India to sharpen their skills.

This expectation is not without basis. In an article published October 10, British Medical Journal reported a successful experiment involving a trainee paediatric cardiac surgeon from a London hospital, who spent nine months at a Bangalore hospital.

Italian-born Dr Simone Speggiorin underwent an intense programme in paediatric cardiac surgery at Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital before returning to Britain's National Health Service.

"This radical approach was introduced by Dr Martin Elliott, head of the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, London, one of Europe's most sought-after hospitals for children," said Dr Devi Shetty, a cardiac surgeon and founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya.

The BMJ article emphasised the need to send British cardiac surgeons from the NHS for training in countries such as India and China where patient populations are high and the opportunity for hands-on experience for young surgeons high, Shetty said.

Doctors in Britain are also concerned about the lack of experience among their juniors, Elliott says in the article.

Speggiorin worked 12 hours a day, six days a week and performed three or four operations a day at Narayana Hrudayalaya from January to September this year. "The workload is massive. It's heaven for a surgeon," he told BMJ, adding that he had done more medical work in his last two months in India than he had in 10 years.

Narayana Hrudayalaya now plans to have more foreign doctors over to train at its facilities.

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