Patient perceptions of surgical training in the private sector in South Africa – a single centre survey
Background: As the worldwide demand for specialist surgeons increases, and to complement surgical training provided through governmental institutions, private hospitals are increasingly hosting trainees. Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre (WDGMC) is a private academic hospital in Johannesburg with a Colorectal Unit (CRU) that hosts several trainees. While published studies demonstrate that the involvement of trainees in surgery does not adversely impact outcomes, private patients' perceptions of the role of trainees in their care have not been as widely researched.
Methods: This was a prospective, cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire hosted on a REDCap database. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 26.
Results: One hundred and seventy-four patients participated in the study, and 74.1% of respondents felt that training of doctors should occur in private hospitals in South Africa. Of the sample, 83.3% would allow a supervised trainee to perform a part of their operation, provided they had been made aware of trainee participation in advance (78%). Sixty per cent of patients felt that interaction with a trainee enhanced their care, and 52.3% of patients suggested that seeing more than one doctor a day improved their experience.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that privately funded patients support the surgical training of medical doctors in private academic training hospitals, and they are willing to be participants in the training process. Moreover, training programmes in this setting appear to enhance the patient experience. We are optimistic that these findings could be used to advocate for expanded training opportunities across the private sector in South Africa.
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