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New training scheme for surgeons of the future opens for applications

17 Nov 2017

The Royal College of Surgeons has announced that applications for the first Improving Surgical Training (IST) programme for trainee surgeons are open. The innovative pilot training programme will provide surgical trainees with a better balance between training and service provision and professionalise the role of the surgical trainer.  

The programme will be piloted in general surgery, and from August 2019, will also be open to applicants to urology and vascular surgery. The programme will be open to all trainees applying for core-level surgical training posts through the 2017/2018 national selection process.

The programme was commissioned in response to a RCS review which confirmed concerns around surgical training. In particular, the review found that many trainees were spending increasing amounts of their time on service provision, and not enough of their time training.

To address this, the IST pilot will mean trainees will spend around 60% of their time in elective day time training roles, with the rest of time spent undertaking on call and emergency work. Each trainee will also have a minimum of one hour per week to receive feedback from their trainer and reflect on their work.

The pilot will also focus on wider team learning as part of the concept of the ‘modern firm’. This is where members of the wider surgical care team, including physician associates and surgical care practitioners, help to support the trainee in a positive and collaborative manner.

Mr Ian Eardley, RCS Senior Vice-President and sponsor of the Improving Surgical Training project, said:

“This is an exciting development for surgery. Many surgical trainees find that despite their title, they simply don’t have enough time in their day to be trained. The IST pilot will ensure that trainees of the future will have better opportunities to learn on the job.”

David Wilkinson, Lead Dean for Surgery at Health Education England said:

“It is a privilege to be involved in this pilot that I believe will benefit our surgical trainees, support our trainers and develop our wider surgical teams. Through the development of the modern firm, it has the potential to improve the quality of surgical care to patients both now and in the future.”

Recruitment for the 2018 IST is now open. You can apply here.

Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

For more information, please contact the Press Office:

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