Scalpel Games Showcases Future Surgeons

The surgical skills of 100 of the brightest medical students and trainees in the state will be on show today at the annual Golden Scalpel Games® in Sydney. Minister for Health Brad Hazzard will officially open the competition that pits teams of aspiring surgeons from the six Surgical Skills Training Networks against each other.

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“The Golden Scalpel Games® is an opportunity for medics, who are literally a cut above the rest, to practise and compete against their peers,” Mr Hazzard said. “NSW has some of the finest surgeons in the world who have pioneered procedures that are now commonplace and it is important we pass on that knowledge base.”

Developed by the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI), part of NSW Health, the Golden Scalpel Games® sees teams take on six clinical tasks. The groups rotate through challenges including tendon repair, suturing, laparoscopic appendectomy, wound management and severe trauma under the watchful eyes of mentors and senior surgeons whose job it is to test and assess participants.

Notre Dame Sydney is the defending champion of the Golden Scalpel trophy, while Northern Surgical Skills Training Network was last year’s winning network. HETI Chief Executive Annette Solman said the medical trainees and students will perform tasks on manikins and synthetic vascular tissue in 20-minute sessions. “This unique and fun competition gives the next generation of surgeons an opportunity to improve their skills, knowledge and self-confidence,” Ms Solman said.

“As the cumulative scores are projected onto a giant screen it becomes a tense, but exciting, atmosphere seeing which team can best hold their nerve to ‘go for gold’.” A student version of the Golden Scalpel Games® precedes the main competition, with teams from six NSW medical schools and the ANU competing under supervision of the HETI Clinical Surgical Training Council Trainee Subcommittee.