The training pathway takes surgeons through a number of training grades to an eventual senior post.
Currently, this involves foundation training for two years (F1 and 2) in a variety of medical specialties, followed by competitive entry into core training (CT1 and 2) in surgery. This involves many surgical specialties but may be themed towards a particular specialty in which you will eventually specialise.
This is followed by approximately six years in specialty training (ST training 3 plus). When you have completed this you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) and can apply for consultant posts or you may undertake further training or a fellowship.
In addition to this training pathway, there are many other ways in which you can practise as a surgeon. Indeed, the training pathway will not appeal to all aspiring surgeons and the options presented by the SAS grades may be more suited to your aspirations.
Most of a surgeon’s work takes place in a hospital setting, either in the NHS or in the private sector. A surgeon’s time is planned and divided into programmed activities (PA). A PA is approximately half a day’s work. In addition to performing operations, surgeons also have to undertake: ward rounds, outpatient clinics, administrative work and teaching.
Many surgeons also engage in additional professional activities such as research and medical politics. For all of these activities you can expect to travel, both within the UK and internationally. The proportion of a surgeon’s time taken up with each of these activities will vary according to his or her grade and specialty.