A SURGEON who divides his time between Schull and London has helped to organise the first-ever international fellowship exam in cardiac surgery in Malaysia.
A total of 28 candidates from all over the world took the first ever Joint Surgical Colleges Fellowship Examination – or JSCFE for short – in cardiothoracic surgery, which took place at the end of February.
John Smith, who has a home at Colla Road in Schull, explained that the JSCFE is offered by the four royal surgical colleges — namely England, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ireland — and that the exam had, until now, to be taken in either England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland.
Mr Smith, who is the chairman of examiners for the UK and Ireland, told The Southern Star that by having the exams in Malaysia, it made the examination more accessible to foreign candidates.
‘Over the years we have moved towards offering the exam overseas for the purpose of disseminating high standards of surgical examinations and improving patient welfare,’ said Mr Smith.
‘Besides helping enrich the global medical community, most of the students are from the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
‘Of course, having the examinations in Malaysia is also a testament to the top-class facilities available in that country. In fact, there is an examination suite there far superior to what I have seen in Europe.’
The exam, held at Universiti Malaya, ran for two days with the first assessment a clinical examination to assess the effectiveness of surgeons in recommending treatment for patients.
This was followed by an oral examination to assess the candidate’s understanding of diagnosis and management.
The surgeon said: ‘It was an eye-opening experience for those involved with organising these exams at the local level and it was an opportunity for them to gain the skills to become examiners themselves.’
Mr Smith – who visits Schull on a monthly basis with his wife, Muriel – said he was just back recently and is looking forward to returning again this month.
He said: ‘Schull is the perfect location in which to work. In fact, most of the written preparation for this exam was done in Schull.’
He also said he was pleased that the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland was involved in the exam process.