OBJECTIVE: Training in cardiothoracic surgery across Europe remains diverse and variable despite the ever closer integration of European countries at all levels and in all areas of life. Coupled with the increasing ease of movement across Europe, the need for uniform training programmes has arisen to allow for equivalent accreditation and certification.
METHODS: We review the current training paradigms within the specialty across the world and in Europe and also explore the concept of competence.
RESULTS: There are diverse training systems across the world and in Europe in particular. Competence-based training is the new model of training; however, competence remains difficult to define and measure. We propose a European Training Programme in Cardiothoracic Surgery that aims to standardize training across the European countries.
CONCLUSIONS: The difficulties in unifying training across Europe are numerous, but it is time to implement a European Training System in Cardiothoracic Surgery that will deliver a competence-based curriculum.