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3.3.2 Surgeons in training

Further resources in this section

Consultant surgeons must accept overall responsibility for any duties that are delegated to a trainee or other doctor. You should:

  • Delegate duties and responsibilities only to those specialist trainees and foundation doctors or other doctors whom you know to be competent in the relevant area of practice.
  • Indicate to trainees when more senior advice and assistance should be sought.
  • Be present throughout an operation until you are satisfied that the trainee is competent to carry out the procedure without immediate supervision.
  • When on duty, be available to advise or assist the trainee at all times unless specific arrangements have been made for someone else to deputise.
  • If you have a supervisory role, ensure that the trainee maintains an up-to-date portfolio that complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 and is accurate, legible and frequently updated.
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that trainees are fit to undertake their responsibilities, particularly with reference to fatigue, ill health or the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Ensure that assessment and appraisal of trainees is carried out regularly, thoroughly, honestly, openly and with courtesy, taking care that feedback regarding unsatisfactory progress is constructive and offered promptly, without waiting until their annual appraisal meeting.
  • Not assign as competent someone who has not reached or maintained a satisfactory standard of practice.
If you are a surgeon in training, in addition to following the requirements of all surgeons set out in this document, you should:
  • Take responsibility for your training and proactively seek opportunities that will help you meet the requirements of your specialty’s syllabus to a high standard.
  • Maintain full, accurate and up-to-date records relating to your training.
  • Recognise the circumstances in which you should seek advice and assistance from a more senior member of the team. Know which consultant is on call and seek advice or assistance when appropriate.
  • Inform the responsible consultant before a patient is taken to theatre for a surgical procedure.

« Previous: 3.3.1 Medical students
Next: 3.3.3 Staff Grades, Associate Specialists and Specialty Surgeons »


Title/Link Author Published Date
Safe Shift Working for Surgeons in Training: revised College policy statement RCS 2007
Writing References GMC 2012

Certificate of Fitness for Honorary Practice

NHS Employers 2013
Live Surgery Broadcasts RCS 2010

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