Boot camp for Scottish surgical trainees

All of Scotland’s latest group of surgical trainees are to start off a new training programme this week and during the first phase of their programme will undertake an intensive ‘boot camp’ to teach them the core skills they need.

The camp will involve simulation training using a range of techniques focusing on technical and non-technical skills to enhance their early learning and development.

Uniquely in the UK, all of Scotland’s 2018 intake of 49 eligible posts will be included in the Improving Surgical Training Programme, more than half of the 81 posts available across the UK as a whole.

‘Improving Surgical Training’ (IST) is a pilot programme which aims to:

  • Set aside more time for training - protected teaching time
  • Create longer placements in each location – more stability
  • Enable better progression through competency training

Professor Rowan Parks, Deputy Medical Director, NHS Education for Scotland said:

“We’re looking to make much more formal the kind of support that should be there for trainees and we're looking to formalise mentoring within the programme. We really want to not only increase the face-to-face time between trainee and trainers but we are also looking to embed simulation and make thatmuch more a part of early surgical training.
“We’re excited by the prospects of the Improving Surgical Training pilot. It holds out the opportunity of real benefits for trainees, so we’re taking the step of offering it to every one of our recruits.
“We have a lot of trainers who have won the Silver Scalpel award over the last few years and we have units that are outstanding international centres for surgical training. Scotland offers a diversity of training which really isn’t available in many places - from major teaching hospitals and university placements with academic aspects to remote and rural experiences.

Professor David Galloway, President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, said:

“I am delighted to see this initiative come to life. The way in which these ideals and established elements of best training practice have been adopted within the Scottish training programme shows both commitment and enthusiasm. It will introduce important new components including an enhanced sense of purpose within the training programme together with the recognition and involvement of proven and high quality trainers. The potential to extend and further evolve the ideals of ‘Improving Surgical Training’ is likely to add value for clinicians and patients alike."

Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said:

“The launch of the IST project is a significant milestone in the development of surgical training in the UK. It represents the first major change in over a decade and the programme has the complete support of our College. I am particularly pleased to see that more than one half of the posts are in Scotland. I am absolutely confident that the concepts and principles of IST will become the yardstick by which high quality surgical training will be judged in the future.”

IST will also:

  • Professionalise the role of the trainer – providing better quality training
  • Ensure rotas provide 60% of working time during ‘office hours’ – providing more time for training
  • Make better use of surgical care teams - better support for trainees

To learn more about Improving Surgical Training in Scotland, check out our latest video.


John Fellows

Public Affairs Manager

+44 (0) 141 221 6072

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