Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Assessment of surgical competence
  1. A Darzi, professor of surgery and head of department,
  2. S Mackay, honorary research fellow
  1. Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Academic Surgical Unit, St Mary's Hospital, London W2 1NY, UK
  1. Mr S Mackay s.mackay{at}


This paper examines the issues that arise in the broad area of competence assessment in surgical practice, with particular reference to the objective assessment of technical skill which has historically been the weakest aspect of assessment in surgical training. To facilitate a thorough appraisal of competence, a simple model of surgical practice is advanced, followed by a review of both current and experimental methods of assessing technical skill. The review comprises not only the published literature, but also work (both from the authors' and other groups) that is in progress or under consideration for publication. Significant issues in the implementation of these new technologies, especially the necessary further validation, and the imperative to demonstrate that the process introduced does indeed improve the outcomes are discussed.

  • competence assessment
  • surgery
  • learning

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.