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Scottish Medical Training

Scotland - the home of medical excellence

Speciality: Core Surgical Training

Programme Description
GMC Reference: SES/2051

General Programme Descriptor

The Core Surgical Training (CST) Programmes have been established in Scotland since August 2011. There are two CST Programmes - one in the West of Scotland (covering the West of Scotland Region) and one in the East of Scotland (covering South East, North and East of Scotland Regions). In 2019, two year appointments will be made at CT1 level. There will be no appointments at CT2 level.

All CST posts in Scotland in 2019 will be part of the Improving Surgical Training Pilot study being promoted by the Royal Colleges of Surgeons and supported by the four Government Health Departments. For 2019 recruits, some posts have been designated as run-through posts in General Surgery, Urology and Vascular Surgery. The remaining posts have been designated as uncoupled CST posts. Some of the uncoupled posts have been themed to one or more surgical specialties.

The surgical specialties contributing to CST in Scotland are Cardiothoracic Surgery, ENT Surgery, General Surgery, Paediatric Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery, Urology and Vascular Surgery. Those applicants wanting to do T&O in Scotland should apply directly for the T&O run through programme. However, there are a number of themed T&O rotations in the West of Scotland CST Programme for those who might want to do be exposed to other specialties as part of T&O training and apply subsequently for ST3 posts in this specialty.

Successful candidates appointed to a two year programme will rotate through four 6 month placements. All posts have been constructed to allow trainees to spend at least 12 months in one geographical location.

The Scottish Government has provided financial support for the IST Pilot Project in Scotland. All trainees will attend a residential four day Bootcamp in Inverness as part of their introduction to surgical training. It is aimed at enabling the Core trainee to hit the ground running and focuses mainly on non-technical skills but combines that with excellent wet lab facilities. Outdoor activities are included with plenty of time to appreciate the local scenery. Places in the bootcamps are ring fenced for IST pilot trainees but early application is encouraged to secure a place on the earliest courses. Applications should be made via the usual process for Study Leave to the relevant TPD and are fully funded. In addition all trainees on the programme will be loaned their own personal laparoscopic surgical simulation trainer.

Trainees’ progress will be monitored regularly as part of the IST Pilot Project and completion of the programme will depend upon satisfactory outcomes at the annual review (ARCP).


a)   East of Scotland Programme descriptor

The East of Scotland programme covers a wide geographical area and posts are available in Edinburgh, Fife, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Elgin and Stornoway. Rotations will normally be organised so that the 4 posts are within a reasonable commuting distance of each other (the exception are the Remote and Rural posts for which separate arrangements are in place). 

The programme consists of 4x6 month placements in a range of surgical specialties (most with continuous 12 months placements).  All posts are themed with the majority being in General Surgery and the rest being in other specialties within the region.

There are 14 hospitals in 6 NHS Boards providing CST in the East of Scotland – three major teaching hospitals, two specialist children’s hospitals and a range of District General Hospitals in both populated and remote areas.

b)   Research, Audit, Teaching and Management opportunities

There is a monthly teaching day for all core trainees that rotates between Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Additional technical and non-technical modules are under development but this year will included wet-lab sessions, laparoscopic training and anatomy teaching. Trainees are also able to attend the teaching programme in the West programme.

All training locations in the East offer clinical research opportunities for core trainees. Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh in association with their universities have extremely active scientific research programmes. The Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track (ECAT) programme provides access to funded higher degrees and run-through clinical academic training.

c)    Where is the training delivered?

There are 14 hospitals in 6 NHS Boards providing CST in the East of Scotland – three major teaching hospitals, two specialist children’s hospitals and a range of District General Hospitals in both populated and remote areas. Training is delivered in all of the hospitals listed below:


  • Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 4SA
    • Core posts: Cardiothoracic surgery, Vascular surgery, Orthopaedics
    • A major acute teaching hospital with over 900 beds providing a full range of services for SE Scotland. Specialist services include cardiac surgery, kidney, liver, pancreas and bone marrow transplants. It is home to the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit.


  • Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU
    • Core posts: Colorectal surgery, Breast surgery, Urology 
    • A 570 bed general hospital providing a comprehensive range of general and specialist services. It holds the regional centres for cancer care, clinical neurosciences and the Regional Infectious Diseases Unit.


  • Royal Hospital for Sick Children, 9 Sciennes Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1L
    • Core posts: Paediatric surgery
    • This hospital affectionately known locally as “the Sick Kids” has been providing a comprehensive range of dedicated children’s services for 150 years. Plans are in place for a new hospital adjacent to the Royal Infirmary or Edinburgh.


  • St John’s Hospital, Howden Road West, Livingston, EH54 6PP
    • Core posts: ENT, Plastics
    • A modern teaching hospital which provides a wide range of services including; the regional centre for ENT surgery, Plastic surgery and Burns treatment. It opened a Short Stay Elective Surgery unit in 2011 which treats over 3000 patients per year.


  • Borders General Hospital, Newstead, Melrose, TD6 9DS
    • Core posts: General Surgery, Orthopaedics
    • A District General Hospital situated in the heart of the Borders just outside Melrose. It provides an excellent exposure to elective and emergency general surgery.


  • Victoria Hospital, Hayfield Road, Kirkcaldy, KY2 5AH
    • Core posts: General surgery 
    • This hospital opened in January 2012 and provides a comprehensive inpatient service for the patients of Fife. There is a new Theatre Suite and Critical Care Unit providing facilities for general surgery, vascular surgery, urology, trauma and orthopaedics, ENT, maxillo-facial surgery and obstetrics and gynaecology.


  • Queen Margaret Hospital, Whitefield Road, Dunfermline, KY12 0SU
    • A dedicated diagnostic and treatment centre providing a wide range of day surgery, endoscopy and outpatient consultations.


  • Perth Royal Infirmary, Taymount Terrace, Perth, PH1 1NX
    • Core posts: General surgery, Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery
    • A 260 bed DGH providing a wide range of services for the people of Perth and the surrounding area. A good range of elective General Surgery with links to Ninewells hospital in Dundee for the emergency cover.


  • Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, DD1 9SY
    • Core posts: General surgery (as a part of Perth Placement- for emergency on call), Vascular Surgery, Plastics, ENT, Urology, Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery
    • A Major Teaching hospital on the outskirts of Dundee. With over 900 beds it provides a comprehensive range of services. Internationally renowned for its contribution to the development of Laparoscopic surgery in the UK. It is also a leading centre for cancer management, medical genetics and the development of robotic surgery. 


  • Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZN
    • Core posts: General surgery – upper GI/HPB/Colorectal/Vascular, Urology, Cardiothoracic surgery, Plastic surgery and ENT. Also ICU.
    • A large Teaching hospital with over 900 beds providing a comprehensive range of treatments to a population of 600.000.All surgical specialties are present except transplantation surgery.
    • The Emergency Care Centre is the first stage of the redevelopment of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. 


  • Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Westburn Road, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZG
    • Core posts: Paediatric surgery
    • A new hospital opened in 2004 linked to the Royal Infirmary site, providing a full range of children’s services for NHS Grampian, Highland, Orkney and Shetland.


  • Dr Gray’s Hospital, Elgin, IV30 1SN
    • Core post: General surgery
    • A small DGH originally built in 1807 but recently extensively upgraded providing general surgical services to the local population. Situated in a picturesque spot and an ideal place to learn elective general surgery.


  • Western Isles Hospital, MacAulay Road, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2AF
    • Core posts: General surgery
    • A 200 bed small DGH opened in 1992. It provides general surgical and orthopaedic services to the local population. There are no specialist registrars in surgery so the core trainee has 1:1 training with the Consultant. An excellent opportunity to learn basic general surgery and get an experience of remote and rural medicine.


  • Raigmore Hospital, Old Perth Road, Inverness, IV2 3UJ
    • Core posts: ENT, General surgery
    • A DGH which provides a wide range of services for Highland and the Western Isles. Set in a beautiful location in Inverness with an excellent teaching centre on site.
Research, audit, teaching and management opportunities


Despite its small size Scotland has fascinating and beautiful cities, rugged landscapes steeped in history.  Aberdeen in the north east, is known as the Granite City and is the home of the North Sea petroleum industry.  Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital is home to the famous Edinburgh festival fringe ( and international festival ( Glasgow is “the dear green place’, a growing city packed with vibrant energy which offers something for everyone. Pubs clubs and shopping extraordinaire! Glasgow has world renowned venues such as the Hydro which rivals the O2 arena in London. It was host to the highly successful Commonwealth Games in 2014, as a result there are excellent sporting facilities available for a whole range of sports in particular water sports and track cycling have facilities which are second to none. The West coast and Scottish highlands are easily accessible. Please visit the following link for further information on things to see and do in Scotland


Where is the training delivered?
Training is delivered across:

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Belford Hospital, Fort William, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Perth Royal Infirmary, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, Royal Aberdeen Childrens Hospital, Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, 50 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 4SF, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, St Johns Hospital, Livingston, Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway, Dr Grays Hospital, Elgin, Borders General Hospital, Melrose

NHS Lothian, NHS Borders, NHS Fife, NHS Tayside, NHS Grampian, NHS Western Isles, NHS Highland.

Contacts and Useful Links
Programme Type Deanery based or National: Deanery
Administration office South-East of Scotland
Lead Dean / Director Professor Adam Hill
Responsible Associate Postgraduate Dean or Assistant Director (GP) Mr Alastair Murray
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: Julie Campbelton
Address: NHS Education for Scotland, 102 West Port, Edinburgh, EH3 9DN
Tel: 0131 656 3484
Programme Director Programme Director Name: Mr Satheesh Yalamarthi
Address: Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy
Quality of Training Quality Management

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