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ENTOG meeting report, Italy 2016

In 2016, the 26th ENTOG exchange took place in Turin, Italy.

Background

Biennially, the exchange collaborates with the EBCOG conference. These events were originally to be held in Istanbul, Turkey. However, a United Nations summit was planned at the same time which occupied the entire congress area. Consequently it was decided to move both events to Turin.

The location was chosen as it is the home city of Prof Chiara Benedetto (past president of EBCOG and Local Congress President).

The ENTOG exchange took place on 16 - 19 May 2016 and two candidates were chosen to represent the UK. Everyone I met praised the exchange and enjoyed the opportunity to share their experiences of being a trainee in obstetrics and gynaecology. 

ENTOG Scientific Meeting and Council

ENTOG was created in 1996 by EBCOG to harmonise and improve the quality of medical specialist practice in the EEA. 19 countries are represented, including observers from Kosovo and Croatia, which is the most recent member to have joined.

A large proportion of the meeting explored setting up a national trainee organisation. The Netherlands and Germany organisations have developed a strong network of trainees in their respective countries, whilst Poland are still nascent. 

In the Netherlands, their trainee organisation was created over 40 years ago and is called VAGO, which is a subsidiary of the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. They organised the very successful ENTOG exchange 2015 in Utrecht. There are 8 training regions and 490 trainees (of which 65 are male) who follow a competence-based curriculum. Trainees can follow both academic and non-academic pathways. The society is involved with curricula design, accreditation visits, e-portfolio, courses and exams 

In Germany, there were over 16 000 gynaecologists as of 2009, with 80% of these female (of which 56% are consultants). They have a 6 year training programme, and their trainee organisation is closely linked to the senior society. The trainees now have voting rights at the Council of the Senior Society. Prior to 2102, their presence was by invitation only. 

Poland has only joined ENTOG in 2014. They are a subsidiary of the senior society in their country, but are not involved in curricula design or oversight of training. They are currently creating a countrywide database of all trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology to facilitate engagement.

The Council’s Treasurer Laurids Bune (Denmark) and Webmaster Žiga Jan (Slovenia) have stepped down and in very tight elections, Laura Spinnewijn (the Netherlands) was elected as the new Treasurer and Jure Klanjšček (Slovenia) as the new Webmaster.

The President's address

President of EBCOG, Tahir Mahmoud’s address detailed the successful hospital visiting system, of which ENTOG Executive representatives were involved with. Conducted by the EBCOG Executive, the system ensures high standards of care throughout Europe. In 2015 ENTOG participated in 21 visits in 12 countries across Europe.

Project for Achieving Consensus in Training (EBCOG-PACT)

Mr Mahmoud also spoke about EBCOG-PACT. This project aims to develop a pan-European EBCOG curriculum in order to improve and harmonise the health care of women throughout Europe. Supported by an Erasmus Grant from the European Commission, it was launched in September 2015 and will run until August 2018. The desire is to be able to create free movement of specialists across Europe, creating comparable skills and training to ensure patient safety.

In January 2016, the national trainee societies were invited to participate in the first of three surveys as part of a Delphi procedure to reach consensus regarding the content of the curriculum. This is a unique opportunity for the European trainees to shape their future curriculum. I think it is important that the RCOG Trainees Committee engages with this process.

EFOG-EBCOG exam

During the Congress, 55 candidates from across the globe sat the first ever EFOG-EBCOG exam. This was the Part 1 Knowledge Based (KBA) Assessment, and will be followed by the practical Part 2 OSCE examination in London in November. There is an optional pre-examination OSCE course for successful Part 1 candidates in London on 1 October 2016.

The future

To consolidate the Turkish organising committee, the 25th European Congress in Obstetrics and Gynaeocology is being held in Antalya in Turkey on 17 - 21 May 2017. The next ENTOG exchange will be held in Slovenia between 29 May - 2 June 2017. Expressions for at least two candidates for the UK will be posted in early February 2017. The ENTOG Council meeting will be held in Lublijiana. 

It will be interesting to see what the post-Brexit era holds, not only for European trainees working in the UK, but also with regards to the future pan European curricula design.

Reena Aggarwal