2018 Champions of the Golden Scalpel Games

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Notre Dame University and Sydney West Surgical Skills Network were the champions of HETI's seventh Golden Scalpel Games held in Sydney's CBD last Saturday.

Notre Dame edged out their competitors in the medical students edition of the competition in the morning, while Sydney West Surgical Skills Network were too good for their rivals in the main competition held later in the day.

The Games are growing and are continuing to provide a unique opportunity for the next generation of surgeons to showcase their talents in a team-based competition developed and coordinated by the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI), part of NSW Health.

Associate Professor Kerin Fielding - the first female orthopaedic surgeon in NSW and Chair of the Clinical Surgical Training Council - opened the Games and supervised on the day.

Professor Fielding says the Games reinforce the importance of surgical skills training to build confidence, reduce risk, improve knowledge and safe patient care by exploring new innovations in technology and the use of simulated surgical environments.

“HETI’s Golden Scalpel Games give aspiring surgeons from the state’s six Surgical Skills Training Networks based in regional and metro areas a wonderful opportunity to gain experience and knowledge from their peers and senior medical professionals,” she said.

“This year, for the first time the Golden Scalpel Games featured a team of young indigenous medical students vying for the top prize,” added Professor Fielding.

With the Golden Scalpel Games perpetual trophy up for grabs, it was a tough competition amid friendly rivalry as teams of six and their mentors rotated through seven challenging clinical tasks in quick 20 minute bursts.

Teams were tested on complex surgical simulations including laparoscopic anatomy, laparotomy, appendicectomy, bowel anastomosis, end-to-side anastomosis, wound management, tendon repair and severe trauma under the watchful eyes of senior surgeons whose job it is to test, supervise and assess participants following completion of each procedure. The tension built as scores were projected onto a large screen scoreboard.

“This event not only provides valuable training but also the opportunity for connecting with network directors of training, and key leaders of surgical training from HETI and the Clinical Surgical Training Council,” said HETI Chief Executive, Adjunct Professor Annette Solman.

“It is rewarding to watch the next generation of NSW Health’s surgeons enrich their skills in such an immersive environment and take part in healthy competition,” Ms Solman added.

A student version of the Golden Scalpel Games preceded the main competition, with teams from six NSW medical schools and an inaugural Aboriginal medical student team competing under supervision of the HETI Clinical Surgical Training Council Trainee Subcommittee.


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Daniela Iacono on 0439 083 869 / 02 9844 6180 or email: