Calls to restrict use of the title "surgeon"

THE Royal College of Surgeons is calling for the job title of “surgeon” to be protected by law and restricted to doctors with medical degrees and recognised surgical qualifications.

The Patient Liaison Group (PLG) of the Royal College of Surgeons of England recently announced the results of a survey in which 92 per cent of the public agreed that use of the word "surgeon" in a job title should be restricted by law.

The study reflects concern that there are healthcare providers offering treatment in the NHS who use the title surgeon but may not hold medical degrees or have surgical qualifications. These include podiatric surgeons and aesthetic surgeons.

Sue Woodward, chair of the Patient Group at the Royal College of Surgeons, said: "Currently patients are being left in the dark and cannot make informed decisions about their treatment. The law must be changed so only those who have undertaken the extensive medical training it takes to become a surgeon can use this title. This will avoid patients misunderstanding the qualification of the person treating them in the future."

For the survey ICM conducted online interviews of a random sample of 2,034 adults aged over 18 years in the UK.

Access the results on RCS website.