Who will perform ablation ?


I have an appointment this week with an EP with a view to having an ablation.Just read the reviews about the Hospital and the EP that I will be seeing...

I have read the EPs and the Hospitals website which states that as it is a teaching hospital the ablation if done on the NHS will not be performed by the consultant but by medical students ...If I were a private patient then the procedure would be performed by the EP..

Is this the case in all hospitals...Thank you...C

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21 Replies

  • Carol it would never be a medical student. It may be a cardiologist moving into EP work or the consultant's registrar but in any case I believe that the consultant would be in charge directing the procedure. Don't believe all the crap that is written! You are in danger of putting yourself off.

    Take care


  • Bob I take your point but was only reiterating what I had read...C

  • can only say that 2 years ago I went into a `teaching hospital` for a hernia op with GA. the surgeon i had always talked to to arrange the op however did not actually do the op. No idea who did do it, no records of him at the hospital, only other thing was the bloke that tried to administer the GA could not find a vein and had to be done by the main anesthetist, but at least i was knocked out.

  • Thanks for the info.,I shall just have to wait and see...C

  • I think Bob is right- it is much stricter for ablation than for more everyday procedures. The EP I saw at the Royal Brompton said it would definitely be her if I need ablation. I think they must teach senior doctors too, but would have to supervise carefully as it's in all the guidelines that it much be done by experienced staff.

  • Following my appointment will have a better insight into the procedure and one way or the other l am sure to be in safe and competent hands....Thank you Rosy and take care...C

  • Caromia, I was ablated at a university hospital last time and it was not the EP who did the op, it was someone junior to him, but the EP was present I believe, but he was not there when I arrived in theatre. After the op, the "junior cardio" came to see me and prescribed Bisoprolol. Then about an hour later, the senior EP came to see me and told me he wouldn't take Bisoprolol if he were me. As it happens they couldn't find my AF or stimulate it so did no ablating.

    My first ablation was private and the only two guys in the theatre apart from support people were the two top EP's in the hospital.

    But personally I wouldn't be worried about it.


  • Hi, just contacted the insurance and it does not cover Cardiology...So its in the hands of the Gods now...c

  • After reading the EPs history I was feeling quite confident but then right at the bottom of one of the pages I read that unless I was a private patient the procedure would not be performed on NHS by the EP but by medical students..albeit overseen by a registrar.. This came as a surprise and prompted my question on this forum...

    I have been in a private medical scheme for years now which I have never used so making that my priority today to find out if I am covered for this procedure..

    Not really worried (honestly) just rather apprehensive !!!!

    Thank you for you comments Koll I really appreciate it....C

  • My experience during my occasional work in private medical hospitals in Scotland

    I discovered the consultants/surgeons were employed by the NHS and did their work at the Private hospitals during their lunch breaks,holidays,evenings

    ie the times away from their main employer, the NHS.

    Also the diagnostic equipment which I looked after in private hospitals was often not the best ( I was a medical diagnostic engineer).

    However the plus sides of private medical hospitals in this country are, staff are extremely pleasant to their patients, and good quality carpets on the floors every where.etc.and off course the consultants see you sooner than if you were a NHS patient

  • May I ask which hospital you are having your procedure at please ! ( Then I can make sure that I avoid it )


  • I wouldn't call the guy who did my ablation a student, although technically he might have been. He was about 40 and clearly knew his "stuff" (that's technical speak!), although his choice of drugs afterwards was debatable. To be honest, as I assume being dextrous is key, I am quite happy to have someone capable of that age doing the actual work, but I would prefer to know that the senior EP is there or at least close by.

    As rosailor said my private ablation was done in the evening. Now I know why.


  • well i wouldnt want students and am surprised it is? Go NHS sure it would be consultant or his registrar being supervised by consultant.

  • I work in a Cardiology Department. A cardiac ablation will be performed by a Consultant Cardiologist specialising in Electrophysiology. The procedure may also be performed by an experienced Senior Registrar Cardiologist overseen by the Consultant. Medical students may be present but there is no way they would be hands on during the procedure. It is complicated electrical stuff and the medical students will be observers only (looking very bored!).

  • Thanks for this well informed post. I must admit that I am very relieved to hear this! X

  • scoobydoo, That's great to hear and re-assuring but if the procedure has to be carried out by an experienced Senior Registrar Cardiologist, can I ask how does he or she become experienced?



  • Koll. Part way through the Registrar Cardiologist`s career, they will decide where their area of interest lies eg. coronary angioplasty/electrophysiology/research etc. They then spend more time in that area working alongside Consultants. Firstly the Registrar will assist the Consultant, then as they gain in experience they perform more of the procedure (this can take years). When the Registrar is close to becoming a Consultant, they may perform a lot of the procedure but in the case of ablations, in my experience, the Consultant is always in the room offering advice and taking over if required. It will depend on the complexity of the procedure.

  • I was a teacher and often had students observing me and jointly planning and teaching lessons with me. I was always conscious of making these sessions textbook lessons and took a lot of care with them as you want to create positive experiences. I would think this is the same when an E.P. trains a registrar. The overall responsibility still lies with the consultsnt so hopefully everything should be ok. An interesting and enlightening discussion though. X

  • Very reassuring to read your posts scoobydoo !


  • Hi scoobydoo, yes, my EP was with the Registrar during the procedure because I now recall the EP discussing it with me. The EP and the Registrar didn't agree on drugs post-procedure, but not sure that's particularly unusual. I'm having another procedure hopefully later tis year and hope it will be the same team.

    Thanks for explaining the process. Hopefully we'll have more EP's in the not too distant future. Mine's sooooo busy.



  • Guys, unless you’re standing next to the EP and fully awake throughout you won’t know who’s actually doing the op, no matter what any private or NHS hospital say, what’s important is you get fixed and can get back to normal and get on with your life, there’s no mystery it’s an everyday mundane task for the people who do this stuff!

    A bit like going to an expensive Gordon Ramsey restaurant and finding out he’s not the one actually doing the cooking….. 

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