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Scottish Medical Training

Scotland - the home of medical excellence

Speciality: Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery

Programme Description
GMC Reference: NOS/858

Why choose this programme? With a population approaching 250,000, Aberdeen is a city of contrasts, with something for everyone. Its rich cultural heritage combines with a thriving, contemporary community and a strong economic pulse, to make the "Granite City" a lively and rewarding place in which to live and work. In recent times, starting as the administrative and technical centre for the North Sea oil and gas industry it has become the hub of the world's offshore energy network. It has much to offer in the way of entertainment and leisure. The city centre has several busy shopping centres and an eclectic mix of independent shops and top chain stores, as well as a wide choice of night-clubs, wine bars, traditional pubs and restaurants. Nightlife is lively, vibrant, and full of variety. Cinema-goers also get plenty of choice.

Culturally, Aberdeen caters for all tastes. A magnificent Edwardian theatre attracts international companies performing ballet, theatre, opera and light entertainment. Many concert halls feature classical, contemporary, and rock concerts. Exceptional museums and an art gallery including the University's museums and collections, display the visual arts, local heritage and visiting exhibitions. The popular Lemon Tree attracts an exciting mixture of contemporary theatre, dance, comedy and music. For fresh-air enthusiasts, there are miles of golden beaches, dunes and cliffs, which give shelter to great nurseries of seabirds and winter migrants. The nearby mountain ranges of the Cairngorms and the Grampians offer superb opportunities for hill walking, mountaineering and skiing, and rivers such as the Dee, the Don, and the Ythan offer fishing, rowing and canoeing, as well as breathtaking scenery with a wealth of historic castles and magnificent gardens. Getting about is easy in Aberdeen. It has excellent bus services giving access to all parts of the city and suburbs. Distances are short, and a pleasant walk or a brief cycle run are reliable alternatives. There are good rail, road and air links with other British cities -  flying time to London (Heathrow, Gatwick, City Airport or Luton) and Amsterdam is just over an hour; road links with Edinburgh and Glasgow are first class; rail links southwards are equally good, with several trains each day direct to London and to other cities. Education and health facilities are both outstanding, and a wide variety of very high quality housing is available within the city and its immediate environs. In addition to Local Education Authority schools, there are two fee-paying co-educational schools and another that caters specifically for girls. All three cater for primary and secondary pupils. See for further information about Aberdeen. Specialty Information This post rotates through Woodend Hospital (for Elective Orthopaedics), Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (for Trauma), and the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital (for Paediatric Orthopaedics). Most Trainees spend one year at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness during the training period. Registrars can apply for national training posts for hand and spinal surgery within their training period but most spend a six month to one year period, outside of Aberdeen after completing training. The Aberdeen Teaching Hospitals serve directly a population of approximately 600,000.

The Elective Orthopaedic Department at Woodend Hospital comprises 90 beds, 40 of which are housed in a new purpose-built Elective Orthopaedic Unit where patients for major Orthopaedic procedures and implant surgery are admitted. There is a modern six theatre Orthopaedic complex, Out Patient Clinic, and Prosthetic & Orthotic Service. The Centre has two purpose-built MR scanners as well as housing a mobile unit. All adult elective Orthopaedic surgery for Grampian (excluding Moray) and Orkney (a total population of 550,000) is carried out in this unit. Peripheral clinics are carried out at various sites through the North East of Scotland and in Orkney and Shetland. A team of 26 Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons including a Senior Lecturer work in the Unit and their work covers the full range of Orthopaedic procedures, with specialist provision for total joint replacement, hand, tumour, spinal, rheumatoid and reconstructive surgery. Also within the hospital complex, are X-ray facilities where a wide range of radiology is offered including Interventional muskuloskeletal procedures and ultrasound. Aberdeen Royal Infirmary acts as the Major Trauma Centre for the North East of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland. There is a 58-bed adult trauma unit with a dedicated trauma theatre within the main theatre suite. All surgical specialities are on site in the same 1000-bed hospital, and a full range of imaging services (CT, MRI and PET scanning) are also available. Orthopaedic trauma on-call is undertaken by 16 consultant Orthopaedic surgeons who work in 4 teams for a consultant-based service and junior staff training. The Orthopaedic Trauma Unit is on-call for hand injuries shared with the Plastic Surgery Department and spinal injuries shared with the Neurosurgeons.

Paediatric Orthopaedics is undertaken at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, approximately 150 yards from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, by 7 of the consultant Orthopaedic staff, each with a special interest. Raigmore Hospital, Inverness is one of the largest District General Hospitals in the country, and Orthopaedic registrars spend six months there during their first year, and a further one in their fourth year of training. Currently, there are 12 consultants, with wide-ranging subspecialty interests. In addition to working in Raigmore Hospital itself (Trauma, Adult Elective and Children’s Orthopaedics), there are opportunities to work in peripheral clinics both in the North of Scotland and in the Western Isles. Inverness is 100 miles by road or 2 hours by rail from Aberdeen. Dr Gray’s Hospital, Elgin, serves a population of 75,000, wedged between the catchments for Aberdeen and Inverness. Elgin is 60 miles from Aberdeen and 40 miles from Inverness. Trainees will generally spend six months in the Orthopaedic unit, with cross cover across other surgical specialties and A/E in their first year of training facilitating excellent experience for MRCS preparation. There are currently five Orthopaedic consultants. General elective and isolated trauma are handled by the team, with more complex injuries being referred through to Aberdeen.

Research, audit, teaching and management opportunities

This post rotates through Woodend Hospital (for Elective Orthopaedics), Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (for Trauma), and the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital (for Paediatric Orthopaedics).

Most Registrars spend one year at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness during the training period. Trainees who wish to pursue a career in hand or spinal surgery often spend  a year towards the end of their training outside Aberdeen as part of National Training Fellowships.  The Aberdeen Teaching Hospitals serve directly a population of approximately 600,000.

Trainees are encouraged to carry out research during their training and have to either publish two significant papers or recruit patients to a trial in order gain certification of completion of training. There are good links with research departments in the University of Aberdeen particularly Medical Physics, Engineering, Rheumatology, Health Economics, Psychiatry and Radiology which have led to successful publications and presentations. There are various ongoing projects using the Universities own RSA unit looking at implant in vivo behaviour. The unit is shortly to be moved from the ARI site to Woodend. Some trainees have elected to take time out of training to read for a higher degree such as Phd or MD and this has been encouraged by the TPD. On their return to clinical work it is possible to apply for a SCREDS post if they wish. Other trainees have taken on postgraduate teaching diplomas during their training

Postgraduate teaching is once per month and is delivered locally for all North of Scotland trainees.

Where is the training delivered?
Training is delivered across:

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, Royal Aberdeen Childrens Hospital, Dr Grays Hospital, Elgin, Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen

North of Scotland – placements in Aberdeen Hospitals, Inverness and Elgin:

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

Royal Aberdeen Childrens Hospital

Woodend Hospital Aberdeen

Dr Gray’s Hospital, Elgin

Raigmore Hospital, Inverness


Contacts and Useful Links
Programme Type Deanery based or National: Deanery
Administration office North of Scotland
Lead Dean / Director Professor Adam Hill
Responsible Associate Postgraduate Dean or Assistant Director (GP)
Specialty or Sub-specialty Specialty or Sub-specialty: Specialty
Date of GMC recent approval August 2010
Associated Royal College - Faculty
Joint Committee on Surgical Training (web site)
Curriculum and Associated Assessment System
Programme Administrator: Named Programme Administrator: Fiona Fourie
Address: NHS Education for Scotland, 1st floor, 102 Westport, Edinburgh EH3 9DN, 0131 6563470
Tel: 01316 563470
Programme Director Programme Director Name: Mr David Cairns
Address: Mr David Cairns FRCS (Tr & Orth) Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Aberdeen Royal Infirmary & Woodend Hospital Training Programme Director North of Scotland Orthopaedic Rotation
Quality of Training Quality Management

How to Apply