Making the most of your ENT attachment
Initiative is needed to benefit from a short placement
- By: Sarah Mahmood, Vinay Varadarajan, William Aucott
Otolaryngology—ear nose and throat (ENT) surgery—is the branch of surgery that deals with communication, including the senses of olfaction, taste, and hearing, as well as the fundamental functions of speaking and swallowing.
ENT surgery remains under represented in most UK undergraduate medical curriculums, despite the implementation of a core curriculum as defined in Tomorrow’s Doctors by the General Medical Council.1 Surveys conducted showed that six out of 27 UK medical schools did not have a compulsory clinical ENT attachment and, of those who did, the average length of time spent in an ENT department was only five days.23
In contrast to the time given to it at medical school, ENT surgery is the fourth largest surgical specialty in the UK, and ENT conditions comprise 25-50% of a GPs workload.24 ENT overlaps with other specialties, including emergency medicine, plastic surgery, neurosurgery, and maxillofacial surgery. A junior doctor’s clinical expertise must therefore