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AIM: To compare the Italian and UK specialist training programmes and the role of the specialist in a surgical discipline.
BACKGROUNDS: Italian postgraduate medical and surgical trainees have the opportunity to spend up to 12 months in accredited foreign health facilities as part of their training programme.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A comparison between the Italian and the UK specialist training programmes structure, training methods, trainees assessments, board examinations and clinical duties and research opportunities of the specialist trainees is performed. Also the role of the specialist surgeon working within the Italian and the UK National Health Service is discussed.
RESULTS: Several differences between the Italian and the UK training programmes and specialist surgeon role have been identified. Training programmes mainly differ in general structure and organization, duration, trainees’ assessments and examinations. The Specialist surgeon in Italy is effectively a member of a team of specialists, led by a Director who has managerial and organizational duties and responsibilities, which include among the others the supervision and organization of the clinical activities of the other specialists. The specialist surgeon who works as a Consultant in the UK manages autonomously his own activities and duties, this resulting in a more independent approach to the profession. Each national system presents with unique and interesting characteristics.
CONCLUSION: A mutual exchange of experience, information and methods between different countries with different specialist training programmes and career paths would be auspicable in order to aid the further growth and development of a more integrated and homogeneous European health system.