BACKGROUND. There is a perception among general surgeons that there are deficiencies in surgical training in South Africa (SA). Dependence on under-resourced state training institutions possibly plays a role. The opinions of qualified surgeons may make an invaluable contribution in this regard.
OBJECTIVES. To canvass the perceptions of SA general surgeons regarding certain aspects of their training.
METHODS. An electronic postal survey was conducted. All general surgeons on the Association of Surgeons of South Africa database were requested to complete a structured questionnaire. Four Likert scale items were interrogated: knowledge acquisition, surgical skill, research, and practice management.
RESULTS. Eighty-eight surgeons responded. Knowledge acquisition and surgical skills development were regarded positively, except for a perceived deficiency in availability of newer technologies. Exposure to surgical research was viewed as beneficial and useful. However, the mandatory research project during training was not perceived as useful for current careers. Training in practice management was perceived as severely deficient.
CONCLUSION. This survey highlights positive perceptions of general surgeons regarding the acquisition of knowledge and surgical skills during training in SA, but some negative views emerged regarding research, exposure to newer technology, and especially practice management training.