OBJECTIVE: A survey of the current status of surgical training in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand, in comparison with the UK and Australia, was done to explore the possibility of cross border training in South East Asia (SEA)
METHODS: A comprehensive questionnaire on various aspects of surgical training was sent to the presidents of the surgical colleges from Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the Royal College of Surgeons England (RCS England). The results were complied and subsequently discussed at a meeting of the Presidents or their representatives in Malaysia
RESULTS: Aside from being patterned after two distinct surgical training models (British and American), extensive variability was observed among the training programs in the SEA region particularly in terms of direction, control and management.
CONCLUSION: Quality of training can be improved by changing to a curriculum and competency based model, utilization of continuous assessments methods, reducing service requirements and better compensation for trainers. Southeast Asia has the potential to provide centers of excellence for surgical training. Surgical educators in SEA will find useful information in this paper to improve their programs which will hopefully evolve into a common core curriculum and enable cross border exchange of surgical trainees in SEA for broader exposure.
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