Surviving the Surgical On-call

Junior doctors often find themselves providing emergency cover for specialties and subspecialties that they have little or no experience in.

This one day course – Surviving the Surgical On-call – promotes confidence in dealing with the daunting range of acute presentations faced on a surgical on-call.

What tests should you organise? How do you interpret them? What emergency treatment should you initiate? When – and who – do you call for help?

This unique Cambridge Medicine event is focused on the assessment of surgical emergencies and managing the acutely deteriorating surgical patient.

It will answer the time-honoured question: How am I going to keep my patients safe and stable until the morning?

Surviving the Surgical On-call is not a training day on surgical technique; there’s no cutting or suturing.

Through highly interactive sessions, our experts will be offering clear, practical advice for foundation doctors and core surgical trainees (and even the more inquisitive medical students).

The training will be particularly relevant for doctors working in Surgery and Emergency Medicine – and there will be important pointers for all other doctors involved in the acute take.

Surviving the Surgical On-call course will be run later in the year. Email to register your interest to attend.

Speaker Programme

9.30am-10.15am Early management of the acutely unwell surgical patient Dr Mevan Gooneratne

With doctors facing ever more complex surgical patients and comorbidities, dealing with surgical on-call has never been harder. This talk will equip you to face the acutely unwell and patients who start to deteriorate and become acutely ill. Clinical crises can be averted by prompt recognition and rapid application of some simple therapies such as oxygen and fluids. However, poor monitoring and inadequate management of airway, breathing, and circulation can lead to abrupt deterioration. This session will offer guidance on recognising the early signs of clinical deterioration in most patients, how to respond and when to call for help.

10.15am-11am Trauma – Common Scenarios Ms Shelly Griffiths

Trainees no longer need to worry about carrying the dreaded trauma bleep! This session will review the organisation of a trauma team, principles of trauma management and common scenarios that juniors may face. Following this session, you will become a confident and helpful member of the trauma team.

11.15am-12pm On-Call Diagnostics: Electrolytes and ABGs Dr Francesca Swords

Almost the first thing a doctor does when assessing a surgical patient is request a blood count, electrolytes and a gas. But what do you do with the results? Hyponatraemia, for example, is the most common electrolyte imbalance in hospitals and, if severe, can lead to coma and death if not managed carefully. Blood Gas Analysis is vital for assessing respiratory status but is increasingly used to assess the severity of sepsis and other surgical emergencies.

This talk will guide you through the commonest electrolyte and diabetic emergencies, and offer a simple approach to ABG analysis.

12pm-12.45pm Orthopaedic Emergencies Mr Al-Amin Kassam

From an open fracture following an RTA, to a frail patient with a fractured neck of femur, orthopaedic cover requires an ability to adapt quickly to the problem in front of you. This session will take trainees through principles of management as well as those basic classifications that you need to know to instigate appropriate initial treatment.


1.30pm-2.15pm Vascular Emergencies Ms Shelly Griffiths

Ischaemic limbs, ruptured AAAs, aortic or other major arterial dissection … vascular emergencies are some of the most daunting a junior doctor can face, requiring rapid assessment and decision-making. This session takes you through basic principles of assessment and safe initial management, ensuring you will confidently contribute to the best possible outcomes for these high-risk patients.

2.15pm-3pm Ear Nose & Throat Emergencies Mr Warren Bennett

ENT is notoriously skimmed over in medical school, leaving junior doctors anxious about even assessing patients. This session is designed to help you recognise those ENT emergencies which require immediate action, and enable you to confidently start initial assessment and treatment. Topics covered will include management of airway emergencies, massive epistaxis and trauma.

3.15pm-4pm General Surgical Emergencies Ms Shelly Griffiths

General surgical takes offer some of the most challenging situations a junior doctor can face, both through the variety of the presentations encountered and the sheer volume of patients seen. This session will provide approaches to help prioritise your workload as well as advice for managing some common presentations you will face, such as acute pancreatitis, herniae and lower GI bleeds, with a particular focus on assessment of the acute abdomen.

4pm-4.45pm Urulogical Emergencies TBC

The on-call urology SHO seems to be the first port of call for any catheter related problems encountered in the entire hospital. As well as offering ‘tips and tricks’ to overcome these challenges, this session will take you through the initial management of those urological emergencies requiring swift intervention, such as testicular torsion, paraphimosis and priapism.