Two decades on - cardiothoracic surgical care practitioners in the UK: a narrative review

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4 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The role of Surgical Care Practitioner (SCP) was first introduced by the NHS in the field of cardiothoracic surgery more than two decades ago to overcome the chronic shortage of junior doctors, and subsequently evolved into other surgical specialties. This review aims to provide evidence on the current situation of SCPs' clinical outcomes within their surgical extended role, with an emphasis on the cardiothoracic surgical field.

METHOD: A systematic search of PubMed, Scopus, Embase via Ovid, Web of Science and TRIP was conducted with no time restriction to explore the evidence on SCPs. All included articles were reviewed by three researchers using the selection criteria, and a narrative synthesis was undertaken.

FINDINGS: Ten out of the 38 studies identified were selected for inclusion. Only one study specifically investigated cardiothoracic SCPs. Three themes were identified: (1) clinical outcomes (six studies), (2) workforce impact (two studies) and (3) colleagues' opinions (two studies). All studies demonstrated that SCPs provided safe practice, added value and were of benefit to workforce environments and surgical teams.

CONCLUSION: Although the current literature provides assurances that the presence of SCPs within surgical teams is beneficial in terms of their clinical outcomes, their impact on the workforce and colleagues' opinions, a significant gap was identified around the SCPs' role within their surgical extended role, specifically in cardiac surgery. Thus, prospective clinical research is required to evaluate SCPs' clinical impact.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
Pages (from-to)39
JournalJournal Of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2020


  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Clinical outcomes
  • Review
  • Surgical care practitioner


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