Background: A prospective audit of specialist registrars' (SRs') training in tympanomastoid surgery for chronic otitis media within the Anglia Regional Training Scheme is described. This audit recorded the surgical activity of the trainees and their contribution to operative procedures, and assessed the results of the procedures. This type of systematic approach to the audit of surgical training is important in light of the current shortened training programmes and increased accountability of trainers.
Objectives: The study aimed to establish the levels of exposure to, supervision of and outcome of ear operations for chronic otitis media performed by ENT trainees in the East Anglia region.
Method: A prospective, region-wide, minimum otology dataset-based proforma audit was undertaken, with compulsory SR participation. Proformas were completed at the time of operation (form one) and at a minimum interval of nine months post-operatively (form two). Data on form one included hospital, supervising consultant, name and training year of SR, contribution of SR (based on England Royal College of Surgeons guidelines interpreted by the SR), pre-operative audiology average (air conduction/bone conduction over 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz), the pathology and the state of the ear at the time of surgery, and a breakdown of the procedure(s) undertaken. Form two recorded data relevant to form one as well as information regarding patient satisfaction and the operative result obtained, graded as ‘gold’ (no disease, dry ear and hearing average < 25 dB), ‘silver’ (two of these three) and ‘bronze’ (one of these three). All completed forms were analysed using Microsoft Access software.;> Results: Completed copies of 409 form ones and 156 form twos were analysed. With advancing years, SRs' contributions to procedures increased without significant effect on the graded outcome, which appeared to be independent of SR year of training. Different regional hospitals were compared. Data collected also provided an otology training portfolio for SRs, forming part of their registrar in-training assessment (RITA).
Conclusion: The East Anglia SR audit of SRs' training in tympanomastoid surgery for chronic otitis media was a powerful training tool. It demonstrated the safe progression of SR training in supervised ear surgery, with SRs' results being comparable to those for consultant-performed procedures.