UEMS Section of Surgery & European Board of Surgery

Who we are


All the activities and initiatives carried out by the UEMS Section of Surgery have a single objective: to help each and every European surgeon in his/her professional career, by providing through the UEMS, in collaboration with its Surgical Society, the tools for professional advancement.

The ultimate aim is assuring standards in the interest of patient safety and wellbeing.

In this purpose, the Section of Surgery gathers 12 different surgical specialties organised either in Divisions, Multidisciplinary Joint Committee (MJC), or Working groups within the Surgery Section:

Aside from these specialties’ groups, the Surgery Section has 3 Focus Groups with the aim to work together among the specialties on key topics for the Executive Committee of the UEMS Surgery Section:

– Continuing Medical Education,

– Humanitarian surgery, and

– Surgical complication management (SEVE PROJECT)

The main activities of the UEMS Section of Surgery and of the European Board of Surgery

are summarised under 4 headings


Organisation of examinations at the European level

One of the objectives of the UEMS Section of Surgery is to ensure the existence of common quality controls throughout Europe, given that the different European health systems are interdependent and that there is a continuous movement of patients and specialists.

To reach this goal, the main activity among the UEMS Section of Surgery is the organisation of examinations for the European Specialist Qualification (EBSQ).
Indeed, each of the Divisions, Multidisciplinary Joint Committee and Working groups of the UEMS Surgery Section organises and conducts examinations every year which lead, for the successful candidates, to the accreditation/title of Fellow of European Board of Surgery (F.E.B.S.) in the corresponding specialty.

This title represents an acknowledgement of knowledge, skills and professionalism of surgeons, at the European level. It has become a quality mark, and it is becoming increasingly prestigious among professionals and institutions.
At the end of the day, being a UEMS Fellow of the European Board of Surgery may be plus in a profile for a surgeon who desires to move to another country within Europe.

In preparation of the EBSQ examinations, some Divisions of the UEMS Section of Surgery also offer preparatory courses which cover the main topics of the examination.

Developing standards through European Training Requirement

The bodies within the Surgery sections have developed or are developing European Training Requirements (ETRs). The purpose of the ETR is to provide specialty-based recommendations involving the expected competencies that a specialist trainee, a specialist, and specialist training institutions are expected to possess through formalised training and organisation. At the end of the day, it would assure European standards in these specialties.

ETRs are not only useful for the UEMS Division, Working Group or Multidisciplinary Joint Committee which designed it, but provides excellent guidelines for the national competent authorities of European and extra-European countries.



Accreditation of training centres

Besides the accreditation of specialists, the UEMS Section of Surgery has also among its objectives the accreditation of training centres for specialist surgeons.

This is carried out through the evaluation of expert committees after analysis of the documentation and subsequent visits and interviews at the centres. It is intended to create certified centres of excellence at European level, which would attract surgical trainees from all over Europe.

Supporting Continuing Medical Education

Another important topic for the Surgery Section is participation in the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME).
It is the most important project of the UEMS in relation to continuing medical education, and the evaluation of face-to-face and distance learning projects.

EACCME reviews and accredits hundreds of applications annually from different countries. The review is based on solid criteria by UEMS members, scientific societies, professional organisations, and universities. EACCME European credits (ECMEC) are recognised in 21 European countries. The UEMS Section of Surgery participates in these reviews in the surgery fields of its Divisions, Working groups and Multidisciplinary Joint Committee.




Since 1996, the members of the Section of Surgery and of the European Board of Surgery have recognised the drive towards specialisation in surgery but see the need to maintain an excellent common trunk of training.

The importance of the common trunk

The members of the Surgery Section and of the European Board of Surgery have recognised that there is an inevitable thirst towards specialisation, but there is concern about the on-call rotas and that the patients shall end up in the right hands by day and by night.

The Section of Surgery and European Board of Surgery are both opposed to fragmentation of surgery. Indeed, the surgeons must relate together as a group to be effective. We recognize that to splinter will be to our loss.

The UEMS Section of Surgery and European Board of Surgery are united in their view that a very adequate common trunk of training is crucial, and they both recognise that the length of the common trunk should not be the same for every Division of the Section.

A structure as a grapefruit

From this vision, a federal structure within the Section of Surgery has emerged which we can compare to a grapefruit:

– the skin of the grapefruit represents the European Board of Surgery and Section of Surgery.

– the rather large pithy centre represents the common trunk of training, which unites all surgeons. Having undertaken a common trunk of training, surgeons often concentrate on a specialty of surgery for research purposes followed by 2 years of training programme in their chosen specialty.
This is the system for vascular surgery, coloproctology, trauma, transplantation, thoracic surgery and so on.

– the segments of the grapefruit represent the Divisions of the Section of Surgery and their Boards.
The specialties are thus separated by a thin “partition” but linked by the common trunk of training and united within the “skin” of the grapefruit which represents surgery as a whole.

UEMS Surgery Section and European Board of Surgery members

The Section has a President, a Vice President, a Treasurer, and a Secretary. The Surgery Section takes great care to work hand in hand with the European Board of Surgery, which has a separate President.

The UEMS Section of Surgery and European Board of Surgery meet together to indicate the parallel track of these organisations.

Members of the Section and of the European Board are elected or nominated by the competent body in each country – usually the same two representatives sit on the Section of Surgery and the European Board.

Within the European Board of Surgery (EBS), there are three Focus Groups with the following focused topics:

– European Training Requirements

– Assessments/Exams, and

– Recognition of Qualifications

Within the UEMS Section of Surgery, some Divisions have established cooperation with the respective European Surgical Societies for collaboration in training courses and qualifying exams:

The UEMS Divisions of Breast Surgery and of Surgical Oncology collaborates with the European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO).

The UEMS Working group of Abdominal Wall Surgery collaborates with the European Hernia Society.