The Association of Surgeons in Primary Care (ASPC) is a dynamic and evolving organisation which exists to provide support, training and professional development for providers of Primary Care Surgery in the UK. Within this context, we are working for our members in these four key areas:
QUALITY AND SAFETY – To support quality assurance in Primary Care Surgery by providing a platform for audit, evidence-gathering and education for Primary Care Surgeons.
INNOVATION – To promote the development and expansion of Primary Care Surgery within the commissioning structure of the NHS.
COLLABORATION – To support and encourage the development of collaborative links both within the field of Primary Care Surgery and with surgical colleagues in secondary care.
The ASPC has long association with the FSRH with its common interest in vasectomy. Although most vasectomy surgeons are GPs who operate in the community, there are many FSRH doctors who provide vasectomy services alongside their other sexual and reproductive health services. Many ASPC vasectomy surgeons are also members of the FSRH although there are fewer FSRH members who are also with the ASPC. I would always encourage membership of both as they each provide different and important benefits for us.
The FSRH has a long tradition of awarding accreditation for vasectomy surgeons, commonly through their SSM (Special Skills Module) and the ASPC many years ago based its training program on this module, gearing it more towards GPs rather than SRH doctors. Fortunately we both recognise the value of having a common training program leading towards the same accreditation whether through the FSRH or ASPC. It is relevant that we have vasectomy surgeons who are members of ASPC and/or FSRH working on this, as well as a Secondary Care Consultant. It is planned for the new training program to be ready by the end of 2024.
We have also been working together on drafting a new FSRH Vasectomy Standard- it is hoped to be published before the end of 2023.
Relationship between ASPC and RCGP
The relationship with the RCGP goes back to the year 2006 when there was an overarching umbrella for primary care specialist organisations to work with Royal College. There are considerable areas where GP’s are traditionally in Britain provided services in the community.
Minor Surgery (Community Surgery) was the procedure where a service was provided for over many a decades in the UK. GP’s were well trained in providing this service in their respective practices.
The College at the time was very keen to bring these skills into the round table to discuss and see how we could improve the care provided for the patients.
Initially the College was looking to see that general practice on its own was in the forefront. It is also took on board that part of general practice with focused surgical care given, as many GP’s had worked in hospital medicine, some of them had been ex-consultants and at senior level and have Fellowships and Memberships of other colleges too
Patients found this very helpful and with the event of the Patient Participation Groups at the time there was a strong emphasis and support for the Department of Health at that time to work with us, particularly with the advent of Darzi clinics
ASPC seized the gauntlet and had many meetings with the Department of Health and with the College at the time and ASPC became an umbrella organisation presenting GP’s with a special interest in community surgery under the Royal College of GP’s. It also had meetings with the Primary Care Dermatology Society and other primary care organisations.
Today, the Royal College of GP’s has special interest programmes which it supports and works with.
Working relationship with ASGBI
The working relationship with the ASGBI and ASPC started with the advent of ASPC in 2006 by Dr Raj Dhumale and his 5 other colleagues who are the founder members of the ASPC . ASGBI welcomed ASPC with open arms as a speciality organisation that continue to provide considerable amount of community surgery ranging from simple skin surgery to cataract, hernia repairs (first hernia repair, paper showing 3000 hernias done in the community) including endoscopy and further procedures particularly in some parts of remote areas of Scotland etc was put forward.
In the Initial 5 years the ASPC national conference was always held along with the ASGBI conference as part of the programme. ASGBI attended the conference and contributed many a speakers
There has been areas where ASPC Displayed & celebrated excellent outcomes in relation to hospital outcomes, particularly in areas of patient satisfaction, infection, health control etc.
ASPC has a foot on the ASGB national board which has been ongoing right through inception of ASPC and a member sits on its council.
We are proud to be associated with the ASGBI and our members are able to get discounted conference attendance.
Further as someone who is in the coalface of healthcare delivery in the community, ASPC community members are able to provide more up to date information on commissioning in areas ofjoint work in the hospital including AQPs etc and giving opportunity for Consultants to work with the GP’s in the GP surgery and help train their own trainees through our members of AsiT (Associational of Surgeons in Training) and that of GPs who have special interest and those who work in hospital in various roles in the surgical units.
This is an ongoing stable marriage relationship that will support community surgery and further strengthen the services carried out appropriately in the hospital, many of those done in the community will continue to do so for the greater benefit of the NHS and considerable saving of billions of pounds in this matter.