Western Australia’s public hospitals will boost their surgical capacity under a $3million plan to train 23 new specialist surgeons.
Health Minister Jim McGinty said the State Government had signed a landmark agreement with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) to train the extra surgeons over the next two years.
“Because of our ageing population, the demand for surgical services has significantly increased and has put pressure on our surgical workforce,” Mr McGinty said.
“It takes a minimum of 15 years to train a fully qualified surgeon, so it is crucial that we take action now to develop the surgical workforce for the future.
“The agreement will see hospitals provide the training posts, while the college provides the mentors needed to turn trainee surgeons into specialists.
“These 23 extra training posts will be a bonus for our health system, as more specialist surgeons will lead to greater care for patients.”
The trainees will be able to study and practice in one of nine surgical specialities offered by RACS, including general, cardiothoracic, orthopaedic, paediatric, plastic and reconstructive, vascular, neurosurgery, otolaryngology (head and neck) and urology.
The positions will be created throughout metropolitan and outer-metropolitan hospitals.
Mr McGinty said in addition to the 23 new advanced positions, the State Government would also increase first year basic surgical training posts by 10 in 2006.
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons president Dr Russell Stitz said the agreement showed Western Australia was taking the lead on surgical issues.
“This is the first jurisdiction to demonstrate an understanding for the need for more specialist training,” Dr Stitz said.
Minister's office: 9220 5000