The researchers assessed the different teaching and socioeconomic aspects of specialist training programs in gastroenterology and hepatology in Europe.
The findings of the study were published in the May issue of Gut.
A total of 70 questionnaires were distributed to last year trainees or newly graduated gastroenterologists.
There were 42 respondents (60%), from 34 major training centers in 10 different European countries.
Overall, the data revealed major diversity for all aspects analyzed, between and within the different European countries.
The duration of training (range 4-10 years) and workload (range 48-89 hours per week) both differed markedly between countries.
The average number of endoscopic procedures (gastroscopies, range 300-2600; colonoscopies, 73-550; endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographies, 1-385) differed also.
One third of last year trainees reported that they felt uncertain in some endoscopic procedure.
The authors found that the European trainee was on call for 5-6 nights a month on average (range 1-8).
| Duration of gastroenterology training ranged between 4 and 10 years.
Monthly wages differed considerably between countries, ranging from 767 to 2180 Euro.
Dr R. Bisschops, of the University of Leuven, said on behalf of fellow authors, "We found major differences in the professional aspects and socioeconomic conditions of gastroenterologist/hepatologist training in 10 different European countries. These probably lead to differences in quality of training."
"In several countries or centers, the average number of procedures was below the threshold issued by the European Board of Gastroenterology or the American Gastroenterological Association.
"Issuing a European diploma for gastroenterology is a valuable effort towards meeting this problem," it was added.
"Further studies are needed to re-evaluate the training programs in Europe, and to define threshold numbers and technical end points for assessment of endoscopic skills," it was concluded.