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Working Group: Surgical Skills Programme

The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) wishes to recruit a clinical lead, working group and advisors for their surgical skills programmes. These programmes include Surgical Skills for Students and Health Professionals (SSSHP), Basic Surgical Skills (BSS), and the more advanced Clinical Skills in Emergency Surgery (CSES).

Each of these programmes aims to deliver core surgical and/or clinical skills as a strong foundation for the development of specialist skills.

Learning includes the development of theoretical knowledge and practical skills in a safe environment so that participants can:

  • perform basic surgical procedures in a safe environment, working with jigs and animal or synthetic tissue (SSSHP);
  • develop essential surgical skills such as gowning and gloving, skin preparation and draping, suturing techniques and knot tying (SSSHP);
  • use a range of surgical instruments and handle tissue with increased confidence (BSS);
  • use endoscopic instruments in a practical and safe way (BSS);
  • demonstrate sound practice in bowel anastomosis using a variety of techniques (CSES);
  • practise vascular and abdominal emergency procedures using open and laparoscopic techniques (CSES).

Our BSS and SSSHP programmes maintain an ethos of formative learning, taking participants through a structured spectrum of basic principles of surgery and providing a framework of ‘one safe way’. These programmes are often the first opportunity for learners to see the whole spectrum of surgery and we focus on developing fundamental safe surgical skills rather than specialist specific techniques.

We are proud to design practical skills, professional development courses and e-learning programmes that are delivered to over 10,000 participants every year, making us one of the largest providers of surgical education in the world. We believe in combining innovation and expertise to deliver the highest quality in surgical education.

Who Can Get Involved?

We are seeking a clinical lead, working group members plus those willing and able to contribute to the development and delivery of this exciting programme. In addition, the clinical lead will also have the opportunity to work with the Intercollegiate Group for BSS to ensure that the final content continues to meet the expectations of that group.

The clinical lead must be a fellow of RCS England or willing to become one before any such role is confirmed. Those unable to confirm this during the application process are unlikely to be shortlisted for that role.

We welcome faculty from a variety of backgrounds and experience. We are keen to build a community of faculty who can act as role models to course participants and represent the diversity of people who work in surgery.


The level of commitment will vary with role, the biggest and most wide-ranging commitment being that of clinical lead. For working group members and advisors, there is likely to be flexibility to accommodate your interest and availability within the development programme.

Most roles within the learning department are voluntary and we are grateful to our faculty members who donate their time to support excellence in surgical education. This practice applies to the working group and advisors.

The College does however recognise that clinical leads are committing more time and has developed a model whereby it contributes towards remuneration directly to their employing trust. See the remuneration details within the job description below.

Working Practices

We expect most of the development work, including the communications between the working group and College staff to be maintained virtually. Depending upon your role, there may be a requirement to attend a meeting at the College from time to time. Standard class travel will be arranged by the College, together with accommodation, if overnight stays are required. All travel and subsistence claims will be managed according to College policy.

Roles Available

Clinical Lead – represents the College as the public face of the programmes and is responsible for the final outputs.

Working Group – contributes to the development of content and resources.

Advisor – this could be through a content review or focus group.

When the courses go live, we will also welcome applications from those interested in delivering the course.


Informal advice may be sought from the Learning Development Lead, Liz Brookfield.

Clinical lead

For job description and person specification click here.

Those interested should send:

  • a short CV (three pages), focusing on how they meet the person specification below;
  • a short statement (one page) of how they would carry out the role and why they are the right person to lead this piece of work;
  • the names of two referees.

These should be sent to Liz Brookfield. We will be following a ‘blind shortlisting’ process and so names and other personal information will be removed from your CV before the applications are shortlisted for interview.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 19 November. Interview dates are still to be confirmed but will be held via a virtual meeting.

Working group/advisors

Those interested in these roles should send a CV (three pages) and a short statement (one page) focusing on how they would like to get involved to Liz Brookfield. Closing date for receipt of applications is 10 December.

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