The aim of this study was to gain insight into potential pitfalls in workforce planning for future consultant burns surgeons. An anonymous online survey was sent to current plastic surgery registrars in the UK to assess their subspecialty career choices, the perceived barriers to a career in burns surgery and possible solutions to these.
The response rate was 33%. Of 44 respondents, burns surgery was the primary subspecialty of choice for 2% (n = 1) and the secondary choice for 9% (n = 4). Reasons given for not selecting burns surgery included a lack of exposure to the subspecialty, a perceived narrow scope of clinical practice and a concern about the potential negative impact on personal lifestyle.
Our results may be extrapolated to demonstrate a potential shortfall in the workforce for burns surgery in the future. To address the perceived barriers highlighted by trainees, a coordinated response at a national and international level is most likely to be successful through the cooperation of burns associations. Possible solutions include increasing burns subspecialty exposure during training, incorporating experience in intensive care into surgical training, and highlighting the numerous research opportunities in burns surgery.

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