The role of the adult urologist in the care of children: findings of a UK survey.
OBJECTIVE:To document the current role of adult urologists in the care of children in the UK and to consider the future provision of urological services for children within the context of published national guidelines. METHODS:A detailed postal questionnaire was sent to all 416 consultant urologists listed as full members of the British Association of Urological Surgeons and resident in the UK. The range of information sought from each urologist included details of personal paediatric training, scope of personal practice, and information about facilities and provision of urological services for children in their base National Health Service hospital. RESULTS:The response rate was 69%; most consultant urologists (87%) in District General Hospitals (DGHs) undertake paediatric urology, mainly routine procedures of minor or intermediate complexity. Of urologists in teaching hospitals, 32% treat children but their involvement is largely collaborative. Consultants appointed within the last 10 years are less willing to undertake procedures such as ureteric reimplantation or pyeloplasty than those in post for > or = 10 years. Currently, 18% of DGH urologists hold dedicated children's outpatient clinics and 34% have dedicated paediatric day-case operating lists. Almost all urologists practise in National Health Service hospitals which meet existing national guidelines on the provision of inpatient surgical care for children. CONCLUSION:Urologists practising in DGHs will retain an important role as providers of routine urological services for children. However, the tendency for recently appointed consultants to limit their practice to the more routine aspects of children's urology is likely to increase. Training and intercollegiate assessment should focus on the practical management of the conditions most commonly encountered in DGH practice. The implementation of national guidelines may require greater paediatric subspecialization at DGH level to ensure that urologists treating children have a paediatric workload of sufficient volume to maintain a high degree of surgical competence.
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