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Surgical team: improving teamwork, a review
  1. Hemant Kumar1,
  2. Raimand Morad1,
  3. Manish Sonsati2
  1. 1 College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Cardiothoracic Surgery Transplant, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Hemant Kumar, University of Birmingham College of Medical and Dental Sciences, Birmingham, UK; hsk519{at}


Teams within surgery have been through countless cycles of refinement with an ever-increasing list of surgical team members. This results in a more dispersed team, making effective teamwork harder to achieve. Furthermore, the ad hoc nature of surgical teams means that team familiarity is not always given. The impact of this is seen across the field, with inadequacies leading to disastrous outcomes. This is a review of research that has been done into the topic of surgical teams. It will investigate barriers and consider the evidence available on how to improve the current system. Studies show an increased effectiveness of surgical teams with structures that allowed consistency in team members. The research advocates that advancements made in improving teamwork and efficiency can prove to be a low-cost but high-yield strategy for development. This can be in terms of simulated training, staff turnover management and fixed team allocation.

  • surgery
  • education & training (see medical education & training)
  • quality in health care
  • medical education & training

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  • Contributors HK and RM have seen and agreed to the submitted version of this academic piece. HK and RM made substantial contributions to the conception of the work. The authors were responsible for acquisition and analysis of relevant data, and both HK and RM were involved in drafting and revising the paper critically. The paper has final approval from the stated authors. The authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. Furthermore, the authors confirm that the manuscript is original and has not been previously published. If accepted the report will not be published elsewhere in the same or similar form, in English or in any other language, without written consent of the copyright holder. I wish to thank Dr. Manish Sonsati, as this piece could not have been written without his advice, patience and general support.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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