Core Surgical Training Curriculum

1 Introduction

The Core Surgical Training curriculum provides the approved United Kingdom (UK) framework for the training of doctors in surgical training from the end of Foundation to the point of entry to specialty training, addressing the requirements of patients, the population and the strategic health services. General Medical Council (GMC) approval of this curriculum pertains to UK training programmes only.

In aiding an understanding of the place and purpose of Core Surgical Training in contemporary surgical training in the UK, an explanation of the evolution and current meaning of general surgery is an appropriate introduction. A century ago, most surgeons could be expected to treat most surgical patients, from those with burns or broken bones to those with vascular and visceral complaints. Even as recently as thirty years ago a “general” surgeon could expect to routinely treat patients with paediatric, urological and vascular disorders. However, as the number of different surgical interventions has increased, a single surgeon cannot be expected to be an expert in them all, and this has led to specialisation. This means that there is no longer a common or shared surgical take, in any way similar to the general medical take. In turn this means that there is no surgical equivalent to the medical registrar. The term “general surgery” has evolved overtime to describe a distinct surgical specialty, mainly concerned with those presentations of visceral disease in the abdomen that may best be treated surgically.

As explained in more detail in 2.2 below, there is a body of knowledge and a set of skills, shared by the ten surgical specialties, to be learnt by a surgeon in training in the gap between the completion of Foundation and the start of higher surgical training. It is in this gap that Core Surgical Training lies, rather than in general surgery or any other particular surgical specialty, and indeed its common content can be completed within placements in any of the surgical specialties.

Changes to the Core Surgical Training curriculum from August 2021

Curriculum PDFs:

Core Surgical Training curriculum August 2021 (version 2) July 2023

Core Surgical Training curriculum August 2021