Training Programme Director: Claire Nicholson
Specialty Programme Coordinator: Trudie Heron
Why choose Neurosurgery?
Neurosurgery is a fascinating specialty that offers the prospect of curing patients with a wide range of benign pathologies as well as improving and prolonging the quality of life for patients with debilitating neurological diseases. Neurosurgery encompasses all aspects of the diagnosis, assessment, and surgical management of brain, central nervous system, and spinal pathologies.
A career in neurosurgery is both challenging and rewarding. It is undoubtedly interesting and exceptionally varied with considerable job satisfaction. It is considered one of the most high profile surgical specialties.
As a trainee what can I expect from my training programme?
The Neurosurgery programme in the North East is based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. These units cover a combined population of 3.6 million people. The units provide run-through training in Neurosurgery up to CCT, and also provide junior ward-based experience in Neurosurgery for foundation 2 and Trust grade appointments. Run-through trainees usually spend about 40% of their time at the James Cook University Hospital and 60% at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Training involves rotations between the 2 units, and local rotation at core level in Neurosurgery/Neurology and Neurosurgery/emergency medicine/critical care. All aspects of Neurosurgery, Spinal Surgery and Neurocritical Care are covered, as well as Neurorehabilitation. The educational experience is improving all the time, with the introduction of weekly formal teaching sessions, journal clubs, Neurology lunchtime meetings, Neuropathology and Neuroradiology meetings. There is good access to library facilities, and all trainees are actively engaged in audit. Run-through trainees are commonly able to leave the programme for academic and clinical research towards higher degrees. The results of recent local and GMC national training surveys suggest that job satisfaction is high, and that the training is considered good.
Career prospects are good, with our trainees all recently achieving their CCT, and indeed finding suitable consultants appointments. A recent survey looking at the outcome for trainees over the past 12 years showed that 59% were in consultant posts, 28% were still in training or fellowships in Neurosurgery.