Lars Påhlman EBSQ medal awarded to Nicolas Buchs

A surgeon at Geneva University Hospital (HUG) in Switzerland has become one of the most qualified colorectal surgeon in the world after scoring the highest marks in Europe in an advanced specialist exam.

Nicolas Buchs was awarded the Lars Påhlman medal after out-scoring all other candidates who sat the European Board of Surgery Qualification (EBSQ) in Coloproctology during 2016.

Mr Buchs, who is a consultant colorectal surgeon with a special interest in robotic surgery is just the second person to receive the medal, which is named after late EBSQ honorary member Professor Lars Påhlman.

He will be presented with the award today during a ceremony at the annual conference of the European Society of Coloproctologists (ESCP) Berlin, which is attended by thousands of colorectal surgeons from all over the world.

The EBSQ exam is the first of its kind looking at the colorectal sub-specialty in Europe. To be eligible to sit the exam, candidates must demonstrate that they are future opinion leaders in the management of colorectal diseases in their country and have completed a minimum of seven years of specialist surgical training. As part of the exam, candidates must complete a written paper, discuss specific patient problems, assess ten to 12 patient scenarios, examine specimens and critically appraise a paper written by one of their peers.

Mr Buchs said: “Taking the EBSQ in coloproctology was the next logical step for me after returning to Switzerland from training in robotic surgery in the USA and subsequently undertaking a further fellowship in colorectal surgery Oxford, UK. The EBSQ was a stimulating challenge and it is a great honour to be one the first to receive the prestigious Lars Påhlman medal.”

Stefan Post, former president of the ESCP presented the award at the ESCP annual meeting. He said: “This medal is a tribute to Lars Påhlman’s achievements and contributions to coloproctology in general and to training and education in particular.”

Lars Påhlman was one of the key figures in the early years of the ESCP and was devoted to establishing and strengthening coloproctology as a surgical subspecialty in Europe. To achieve that goal he chaired the EBSQ Coloproctology within the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) for many years. Following his premature death in 2015, the European Society for Coloproctology established the Lars Påhlman medal to be awarded annually to the candidate with the highest score in the EBSQ examination. The EBSQ qualification is the only way to prove specialist skills and competences in coloproctology.