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In the future, nurses in the United Kingdom who receive extra education may perform some types of surgery, such as hernia repair, vasectomies, and arthroscopies. The proposal by the U.K. Department of Health aims to cut patient-waiting times for surgery. As of October 2004, about 857,200 people were waiting for surgery, and about 69,000 of them had been waiting for more than 6 months.

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The government proposal would require 2 more years of education for as many as 5,000 nurses and other care providers, such as physiotherapists and operating room assistants. They'd become known as surgical care practitioners and could support surgeons or operate on their own.


Expect a fight from members of the British Medical Association, who have already expressed doubts about patient safety under the plan.