The union of surgical specialist societies set up an examination in 1992 under Prof. Dr. R. Berchtold, which served initially for voluntary self-evaluation. This basic exam was continued by the FMCH. The aim was for all interns of the surgical societies to learn a «common trunk» that will form the joint surgical base on which specialisation then builds.
Consequently, most of the specialist societies of the FMCH have made this basic surgical knowledge and its evaluation into an obligatory part of their higher education programmes and examination regulations.
Since 1992, 27 exams have been held, with 7900 participants, initially in Bern for German-speaking candidates and in Lausanne for the French-speaking participants. Since the number of candidates has increased steadily, the exam location has had to be moved to Geneva and Zürich on account of the available capacities. To provide equal exam conditions for all parts of the country and language regions, the surgical basic examination has been held in English since 2018.
The basic exam complies with the regulations of the Further Education Rules (WBO) of the FMH/ SIWF and is bound by the scientific criteria of a professional medical examination.