Introduction: In the UK, surgical training includes all aspects of general surgery. Vascular surgery is not an independent specialty. We wished to assess the views of vascular trainees in UK on the future of vascular surgery and training.
Materials and methods: Trainees were surveyed in 2003, 2004 (after introduction of the European Working Time Directive) and 2005, concentrating on four areas - future practise of vascular surgery, role of endovascular training, vascular specialisation and future training.
Results: The majority of trainees want to practise vascular surgery alone. In 2003, 80% thought training should include endovascular techniques. By 2005, all trainees regarded training as mandatory as endovascular techniques would represent a significant part of their future work. Opinion changed on training; from 4 years general then 2 years vascular surgery (qualification in general surgery) to 2 years general and 4 years vascular surgery (specialist qualification in vascular surgery; P < 0.0001). Opinion also changed, that vascular surgery should spilt from general surgery to form its own speciality (P < 0.0007).
Conclusions: Trainees now regard training in endovascular techniques and endovascular aneurysm repair as mandatory. The majority wish to specialise from general surgery and achieve a separate qualification in vascular surgery.