DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.593 ISSN:

623 How Much Time Do Surgeons Spend Operating?

K Fu, M Abdelrahman, J Walmsley, D Chan
  • Surgery



There is significant variation in the amount of time that surgeons spend performing elective surgery worldwide. The aim of this study was to assess this degree of variation.


An anonymised survey was sent via email to members of The Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons (TUGS). The questionnaire consisted of demographic details, scope of practice, experience, the average number of days spent performing elective surgery per week and what they would prefer.


206 surgeons (174 males; most of whom were aged 35-64 years and were trained surgeons) from 46 countries completed the survey with the majority working as general surgeons with an upper gastrointestinal interest in the public sector. Worldwide, the median number of days that surgeons spend performing elective surgery in the public sector is 2 days per week. Surgeons in the UK spent the least amount of time performing elective surgery compared with surgeons in the rest of Europe, North America, Asia and Africa (1 day vs. 3, 2 and 2 days respectively, p<0.05). All surgeons preferred to spend at least 3 days performing elective surgery per week.


Surgeons in the UK spend the least amount of time operating electively. The reasons for this is multifactorial and should be explored further. The results of this study could improve public expectations of surgeons in different countries and inform trainee surgeons on ideal opportunities for training.

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