Core Surgical Training


Training Programme Director: Mr Ian Nichol

Programme Support Officer: Jon Adcock

Why choose Surgery?

Core Surgical Training (CST) is the entry portal to a career in General Surgery, Orthopaedics, ENT, Urology, Vascular, Plastic Surgery, Paediatric, and Cardiothoracic surgery.

Surgery is a great career option for anyone who thrives on a challenge and who enjoys working in a team. Dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination are helpful but logical thought and problem-solving skills at least their equal.

As a trainee what can I expect from my training programme?

The Core Surgery rotation is 2 years long with the first year containing 3 x 4 month posts and the second year made up of 2 x 6 month posts. In the first year you will rotate through different but related specialties appropriate to your career theme, and the second year is spent entirely in theme. Rotations move between all the acute Trusts in the region giving a breadth of experience – from Teesside to Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and Cumbria. During these posts you will be working as a junior “middle-grade” doctor, with involvement in the clinics and operating theatres and on-call, building up experience, knowledge and skills. You will be working hard to build up your training portfolio and to pass the MRCS exam.

Our core surgery training programme is consistently rated the best for trainee satisfaction on the national GMC Survey. Our training Trusts consistently score highly for patient care and patient satisfaction on national surveys. The Core surgery rotation is well managed and we know that themed training provides the best opportunity for advancing to ST3. The renowned Newcastle Surgical Training Centre at the Freeman Hospital is a state of the art facility allowing us to access basic, intermediate and advanced cadaveric surgical training courses. We are also leading the way in adopting human factors (non-technical skills) training within the programme.

What our trainees say:

I have always felt accepted as a valued team member. I have had experience in several surgical specialties in the North East and have thoroughly enjoyed working with dedicated and motivated people.

My surgical training has been of a high standard and when asking other surgical trainees about the programme, the feedback is always positive. I value the opportunity to work in tertiary referral centres with nationally renowned Consultants.

A day in the life of… Core Surgical Training

A typical day during my current attachment starts with the walk to work across the Tyne Bridge arriving ready for the trauma meeting. Admissions from the previous day are discussed and informal teaching is given on clinical examination, imaging and management. Then its time for the morning ward round, reviewing patients and confirming the management plan before heading for theatre. It’s usually a full list with a diverse range of cases; being a tertiary referral centre we see complex trauma patients and often have to involve other specialties in their surgical management. The trauma list finishes late afternoon and then its time to nip round the wards checking on the post-op patients and explaining the post-op instructions to the ward staff.

My working day is never the same. Fracture clinics, on calls assessing trauma patient in A&E, regional teaching sessions and afternoons to catch up on dictation and audit are all part of a normal week. Teaching is always on the agenda with usually two separate Consultant led sessions a week aimed at surgical trainees and registrars.

I enjoy the patient interaction especially assessing and managing patients in A&E and treating complex, multi-specialty patients. To anyone considering the specialty I would say that surgery attracts individuals who are dedicated, motivated and passionate about a career that is challenging but ultimately highly rewarding.

The programme offers fantastic opportunities clinically including nationally renowned hospitals and resources such as the Newcastle Surgical Training Centre which offer unrivalled learning experiences.




Information for Current Trainees

Access essential information on regulations, study leave, certification, assessment and the curriculum.

Information for trainers and educators

Development and guidance on becoming a trainer, standards for trainers, essential documentation for clinical and educational supervision including guidance for GP trainers,  Trust and out-of-hours supervisors, plus news about the latest courses and conferences.


Potential Applicant

Visit our Recruitment website to find out what it's like to be a GP trainee in the north east and north Cumbria.