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RCS Senior Clinical Fellowship Scheme

Providing a quality mark for surgical education

The transition from senior trainee to consultant can be a challenging step. RCS Senior Clinical Fellowships help bridge the gap. These peri-CCT Fellowships typically last for between six months and two years, and are in a range of specialties.

RCS Senior Clinical Fellowships are jointly approved by the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the appropriate Surgical Specialty Associations. The Fellowships normally focus on expert training in a sub-specialty, such as skull base, knee or bariatric surgery. Applications for approval for a Fellowship programme are reviewed by the appropriate Surgical Specialty Association, Specialty Advisory Committee, and Training Programme Director. This review is to ensure a high quality training experience for the Fellow, and to ensure that more junior trainees in the same unit do not have their training opportunities undermined.

Information for trainees

Fellows are normally required at the start of their Fellowship to register on the ISCP website to record their assessments and logbook. About three months after starting their post, the Fellow is asked to provide confidential interim feedback to the RCS Senior Clinical Fellowship Scheme on their experience in the Fellowship. This feedback is reviewed by the RCS. When they have completed their Fellowship post, the Fellow is asked to provide their logbook and final feedback on their experience as a Fellow. Their Supervisor is asked to provide a statement about the Fellow's achievement of the learning outcomes and clinical competencies required for the Fellowship. The Fellow's final feedback, logbook and Supervisor's sign-off are reviewed by the RCS to determine the award of the Fellowship Certificate. The Certificate is awarded jointly by the RCS and the appropriate Surgical Specialty Association; the feedback is shared with the SSAs. Fellows who are awarded their Certificate can either receive the Certificate at a RCS Diplomates' Ceremony, or the Certificate will be sent to them.

RCS Senior Clinical Fellowships are currently approved in these specialties:

See this guide for information about the Scheme's criteria and standards. See the National Fellowship Register for a full listing of approved RCS Senior Clinical Fellowships.

For further information please contact the RCS Quality Assurance Department at qa@rcseng.ac.uk or on 020 7869 6236/6201

Comments from recent fellows

The Fellowship was excellent – the training and career development worked very well for me. I highly recommend it” - Laparoscopic Colorectal Fellow

The fellowship was very useful and has greatly enhanced my career” - Endovascular Fellow

The fellowship immensely helped in not just improving my overall experience but also the confidence to step up and take on more challenging roles” - Laparoscopic Colorectal Fellow

The RCS fellow gets to do an enormous amount of operating of complex cases with one to one supervision” - Neuro-oncological Surgery Fellow

My fellowship supervisors have been extremely supportive always are available for advice and are very approachable … I am now proud to be appointed as a Consultant Urological Surgeon” - Urological Robotic Fellow

Information for consultants

Perhaps you have spotted an opportunity for developing high quality sub-specialty training for surgeons around the CCT stage. Why not meet the challenge with a RCS Senior Clinical Fellowship? Approved under the RCS Senior Clinical Fellowship Scheme*, these fellowships have a number of benefits, including:

  • Expert review by surgeons in the appropriate specialty
  • Assistance for you in attracting high calibre candidates
  • Assurance that posts offer a high quality learning experience, reflecting the standards set by the RCS and specialty associations, with an established curriculum and assessment using the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme methodology:
  • Listing on the National Fellowship Register
  • Use of the RCS Logo on course materials and website
  • Use of the strap line ‘This RCS Senior Clinical Fellowship post has been approved by the Royal College of Surgeons and [……] [specialty association(s)]
  • Listing in RCS Bulletin

To apply for Fellowship Approval, please visit the Accreditation Portal or contact the RCS Quality Assurance Department

The approval process

There are five main stages in the Fellowship approval process, outlined in the chart below. At each stage, the applicant may be asked to amend their fellowship programme. The time taken between initial application and final approval can take about four to six months, depending on the availability of reviewers, the straightforwardness of the application, and the timing of RCS meetings.

*the title of the scheme was changed in April 2016 from the National Surgical Fellowship Scheme to the RCS Senior Clinical Fellowship Scheme

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