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FEBS(EmSurg) – the European board of surgery qualification in emergency surgery.

The European Board of Surgery Qualification (EBSQ) in Emergency Surgery is a postgraduate qualification of the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS). Founded in 1958, the UEMS is the oldest medical organisation in Europe. It is made up of representative organisations from 40 countries including all 28 current members of the European Union, together with representatives from societies, colleges and universities. It represents 1.6 million medical specialists through 43 specialist sections and has strong links with the European Commission and Parliament and independent European Medical Organisations. The UEMS sets standards for high quality clinical practice and improved patient care.

In 2014 the UEMS section of Surgery approached the European Society for Trauma and Emergency Surgery (ESTES) to collaborate on a project to establish a Board examination in Emergency Surgery. This was a good fit with one of the primary objectives of ESTES: to improve the care of the Emergency Surgical patient by raising the standards of training and education in Europe. An international working group was set up with experts in emergency surgery drawn from across the continent. An agreed curriculum of the knowledge and skills that an emergency surgeon should possess was developed and this was approved by the UEMS section of surgery in Berlin in 2015. An examination board was established and subsequently the UEMS Division of Emergency Surgery was formed. The Division maintains close links with ESTES, and the first examination was held in Vienna in 2016 in conjunction with the European Congress of Trauma and Emergency Surgery. Since then the examination has been held in Bucharest, Valencia, Prague and Antalya (in association with the 12th Turkish National Conference on Trauma and Emergency Surgery) with a growing number of successful candidates.

The exam is designed for surgeons who have completed their specialist training and whose clinical practice is in Emergency Surgery. It provides an opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the field of Emergency Surgery and benchmark knowledge and experience to an international standard. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have the necessary operative surgical experience.This requirement is detailed in the skills section of the curriculum. The syllabus and examination have been adopted in Denmark as part of a 2-year post training fellowship in Emergency Surgery, a sub-specialty that was launched in 2017.

The EBSQ is a two-stage quality validation process consisting of an Eligibility assessment and a formal Examination. The Eligibility assessment is made on information provided by the candidate at the time of application for the examination and this determines whether a candidate is eligible to sit the examination. It is based on the candidate’s operative experience, but also includes a requirement for publication of work in scientific journals and participation in relevant national or international meetings. Operative experience is assessed on the basis of a logbook which must include the performance of certain core procedures. The assessment of additional skills is structured in such a way that it is possible to accommodate the variety of emergency surgical practice across Europe.

Candidates must also have completed the ATLS and DSTC courses (although there are provisions for alternatives). Applications must be supported by two independent experts (e.g. trainers). Candidates must pass the Eligibility assessment in order to take the examination.

The examination itself is designed to test the candidate’s knowledge and consists of a 3-hour multiple choice test (MCQ) of 100 questions covering the range of emergency surgery and a 6-station objective structured clinical evaluation session (OSCE) that explores clinical knowledge in more depth.

Successful candidates are awarded the Fellowship of the European Board of Surgery in Emergency Surgery – FEBS (EmSurg). The title FEBS (EmSurg) confirms that the holder has successfully demonstrated knowledge and skills in Emergency Surgery that, in most cases, far exceed the requirements of a national Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training.

The cost of applying for the EBSQ in Emergency Surgery is €700 of which €350 is required at the time of application for the eligibility assessment. Candidates should ensure that they meet all the eligibility criteria before submitting an application. Candidates who pass this assessment are required to pay the balance of €350 in order to sit the examination.

Further details of the examination, syllabus, eligibility requirements (including a full list of procedures required for the logbook) and application process can be found on the Emergency Surgery pages of the UEMS Website. This includes information on what are considered to be acceptable alternatives to the ATLS and DSTC courses for the purpose of this exam. There is also a suggested reading list to help prepare for the examination.

The next examination for this qualification will take place on Friday 24th April in Oslo just before the 21st Congress of the European Society for Trauma and Emergency Surgery. Applications should be made online. The closing date for applications is 28th February 2020.