PATIENTS will soon be operated on by “cut-price” surgeons, a major report predicts.
The Royal College of Surgeons says assistants performing routine ops will free senior medics for more complex ones.
The aides — likened to the policing equivalent of community support officers — could be helped by robots.
And they would be monitored via webcam, with experienced surgeons working in theatres nearby ready to respond in an emergency.
All involved would still be “highly skilled professionals”. But patient groups last night branded the idea “alarming”.
C-sections and keyhole surgery – known as arthroscopy – are among a raft of procedures that could be affected.
The details are revealed in a report commissioned by the RCS named the “Future of Surgery”.
Richard Kerr, who chaired the report panel, said: “That whole field is expanding – I think rightly so. These are highly skilled professionals who are very capable of taking on some of these techniques”
He added: “The pressures experienced by both those in need of help and those providing care are higher than ever before.”
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Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said: “This development is most alarming and fills me with horror.
“I want to be sure when I go into hospital for an operation that I will be treated by a fully qualified surgeon.
The Royal College of Nursing said: “Greater collaboration between surgeons and the most advanced nurses is one way that healthcare is developing.”