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Core Surgical Training

Core Surgical Training in Thames Valley is a popular choice amongst surgical trainees, with a wide range of specialties to choose from and training in University hospitals as well as smaller District General Hospitals. The training region is geographically quite small, allowing trainees to easily access central teaching and training.

Trainees have plenty of opportunities to get involved in teaching at both Oxford and Buckinghamshire Medical School, allowing them to develop their own teaching skills. Teaching opportunities include bedside teaching and anatomy demonstration. Oxford Surgical trainees are actively encouraged to get involved with academic aspects of surgery including OxSCAR, a local research and audit collaborative.

Specialties include:

  • General Surgery and Surgical Emergency Unit
  • Trauma and Orthopaedics
  • ENT
  • Paediatric Surgery
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Urology
  • Transplant
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Breast Surgery


Themed rotations are offered, and discussion with TPD and at ARCP allows to select a combination of placements which gives a themed as well as well rounded core surgical experience. The allocation of rotations is flexible throughout the training after discussion with TPD to accommodate changes in career plans, or requirements for ST3 interviews.

Training in the deanery also includes:

  • Monthly Core Surgical Training sessions including simulation sessions
  • Anatomy teaching and revision at Oxford University Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. This includes an online booking system to teach students, with consultants and Head of Anatomy available on the day to support teaching and prepare Core Trainees for MRCS OSCE examination

  • Local ATLS courses
  • Local Train the Trainers Courses


Training Sites:

  • Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Wexham Park Hospital



Monthly teaching sessions are mapped to the curriculum to cover all required topics as well as prepare for the membership exams. In the past sessions have included seminars and case based discussions as well as simulation teaching. In addition, mock OSCE and Interview days were hugely popular and have received excellent feedback to prepare trainees for exams and interviews. All trainees are involved in teaching clinical anatomy to first and third year medical students at Oxford University. The close working relationship with Oxford University’s Anatomy Department provides dedicated revision sessions for Part A and B of the MRCS.


Annual ARCPs are held in June, with a mid year ARCP in January/February. The mid-year ARCP offers the opportunity to check progress and engagement with ISCP as well as allows to ask questions before the ARCP at the end of the year. It is a great opportunity for trainees to check that they are on track, feedback about their placements and discuss placements for the subsequent year.

The global objectives set out at the beginning of the year clearly summarise the requirements to pass ARCP, and include:

  • Minimum 40 WBA (with 50% completed by consultants), representing a range of CBD, CEX, DOPS and PBA
  • 1 completed MSF
  • Engagement in at least 1 audit
  • Attendance at 70%  of  monthly core surgical teaching sessions
  • Engagement in anatomy demonstrating at Oxford Medical School
  • Up to date Curriculum Vitae
  • AES report
  • Topics as required by curriculum
  • Logbook


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