Scotland's “Incentivised Laparoscopy Practice” programme: Engaging trainees with take-home laparoscopy simulation

Kenneth G. Walker* (Corresponding Author), Adarsh P. Shah, Paul M. Brennan, Vivienne I. Blackhall, Laura G. Nicol, Satheesh Yalamarthi, Mark Vella, Jennifer Cleland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: The transfer validity of portable laparoscopy simulation is well established. However, attempts to integrate take-home simulation into surgical training have met with inconsistent engagement worldwide, as for example in our 2014-15 study of an Incentivised Laparoscopy Practice programme (ILPv1). Drawing on learning from our subsequent multi-centre study examining barriers and facilitators, we revised the programme for 2018 onwards. We now report on engagement with the 2018–2022 versions of this home-based simulation programme (ILP v2.1–2.3). 

Methods: In ILP v2.1–2.3, three consecutive year-groups of new-start Core Surgical Trainees (n = 48, 46 and 53) were loaned portable simulators. The 6-month education programme included induction, technical support, and intermittent feedback. Six tasks were prescribed, with video instruction and charting of metric scores. Video uploads were required and scored by faculty. A pass resulted in an eCertificate, expected at Annual Review (but not mandatory for progression). ILP was set within a wider reform, “Improving Surgical Training”. 

Results: ILP v2.1–2.3 saw pass rates of 94%, 76% and 70% respectively (45/48, 35/46 and 37/53 trainees), compared with only 26% (7/27) in ILP v1, despite now including some trainees not intending careers in laparoscopic specialties. The ILP v2.2 group all reported their engagement with the whole simulation strategy was hampered by the COVID19 pandemic. 

Conclusions: Simply providing take-home simulators, no matter how good, is not enough. To achieve trainee engagement, a whole programme is required, with motivated learners, individual and group practice, intermittent feedback, and clear goals and assessments. ILP is a complex intervention, best understood as a “reform within a reform, within a context.”

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-197
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ILP versions 2.1–2.3 (2018–2021) were delivered as part of the simulation strategy within the Scottish part of the UK-wide Improving Surgical Training (IST) pilot. This was funded by Scottish Government through NHS Education for Scotland (NES) .

Design and redesign of the Incentivised Laparoscopy Practice (ILP) programme and the wider Core Surgical simulation strategy, was done under the auspices of the Scottish Surgical Simulation Collaborative (Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and NHS Education for Scotland).

The administration of ILP v1 was undertaken by the authors Laura Nicol and Kenneth Walker, and of ILP v2.1 - v2.4 by Karen Willey, Lynn Hardie and Fiona Prew, project officers at the Clinical Skills Managed Educational Network, NES, along with Kenneth Walker, Associate Postgraduate Dean.

The following contributed to the ILP scoring and feedback panel:- Vivienne Blackhall, Mark Duxbury, Alistair Geraghty, Simon Gibson, Joanna Gray, Morag Hogg, Graham MacKay, Alastair Moses, Laura Nicol, Grenville Oades, Raymond Oliphant, Anna Paisley, Roland Partridge, Benjamin Perakath, Andrew Renwick, Mark Vella, Kenneth Walker, Satheesh Yalamarthi.

Support from eoSurgical in providing and maintaining the hardware and software, was provided by Roland Partridge, Paul Brennan and Razvan Ilin.


  • Curriculum reform
  • Deliberate practice
  • Laparoscopy
  • Surgical simulation
  • Surgical training
  • Trainee engagement


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