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Microsurgical Skills Course changes for 2019

19 June 2019

Since taking over as the Surgical Skills Faculty Lead in January John Ferris, new Skills Faculty Lead and Fiona Spencer, Chair Training, have undertaken a pilot consultation process about the format of the Microsurgical Skills Course (MSS) with both trainers and trainees. The MSS course has been one of the College’s most successful initiatives and for years has provided an excellent grounding in basic microsurgical skills for trainees about to enter OST. However, over the last 5 years there has been a growing tendency for doctors to attend this course earlier and earlier in their careers and in many cases the driver for this has been to secure a point for their ST1 recruitment portfolios.

As a result of this most trainees have long since forgotten most of what was taught on the MSS course by the time they commence their ST1 post 12-18 months later.

In order to address these issues it has been decided that the MSS course will be replaced by an Introduction to Ophthalmic Surgery course for interested medical students and Foundation doctors and an Introduction to Phacoemulsification course for ST1s, which will be concurrent with the commencement of intraocular surgery.

 Introduction to Ophthalmic Surgery course

This course is designed to serve as an introduction to ophthalmic surgery and will offer an opportunity for trainees to learn some of the core skills that form the building blocks of ophthalmic surgery. The pre-course e-learning will focus on developing an understanding of microsurgical instruments and sutures as well as different suturing techniques and how to use an operating microscope.

The focus will be on hands-on practical experience with only short introductions to each topic and at least 5 hours of simulated surgery using the latest model eyes.

The course is open to Foundation Doctors, Medical students, overseas doctors, in fact anyone who is considering a career in ophthalmology.

It is not mandatory to have attended this course if you later enter a UK ophthalmology training programme, but you will still be awarded 1 point for your portfolio at ST1 National Recruitment.

Introduction to Phacoemulsification course

This 2 day course is designed to serve as an introduction to phacoemulsification cataract surgery and will offer an opportunity for trainees who have completed the EyeSi courseware A and B training. The emphasis will be on translating the core skills developed on the EyeSi, such as capsulorhexis techniques, sculpting and cracking the nucleus, removing nuclear fragments and cortical aspiration techniques into an environment that is more akin to live surgery using a combination of wet-labs and a Digital Surgical Classroom, with wifi-linked Zeiss Stemi microscopes.

The pre-course e-learning will focus on developing an understanding of phaco-dynamics as well as detailed explanations of the techniques underpinning each stage of phacoemulsification surgery. The focus will be on hands-on practical experience with only short introductions to each topic followed by practice on a variety of model eyes.

The course is only open to doctors who have been appointed to an ST1 or an ST1 LAT post commencing in August 2019.  A limited number of places will also be open to overseas trainees.

It is mandatory for new ST1 / ST1 LAT trainees to have completed this course before undertaking any live intraocular surgery.

Courses will be run from October to December each year to ensure all trainees have the opportunity to attend a course at the start of their ST1 training.