Curriculum Overview from 4th August 2021

The Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP) provides the approved UK framework for surgical training from completion of the foundation years through to consultant level. This area contains the most up-to-date version of the curriculum for each of the ten surgical specialties and core surgical training which are GMC-approved in the UK and approved by the RCSI in the Republic of Ireland.

The curriculum guides and supports training for UK certification, a UK Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration via the Combined Programme (CESR-CP) or, in the Republic of Ireland, Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) in a surgical specialty. The curriculum enables trainees to develop as generalists within their chosen surgical specialty, to be able to deliver an on-call emergency service and to deliver more specialised services to a defined level.

The curriculum was founded on the following key principles which support the achievement of these aims:

  • A common framework across all the specialties within surgery.
  • Curriculum standards that conform to the standards specified by the GMC/RCSI. 
  • Delivery of the curriculum by surgeons who are appropriately qualified to deliver surgical training.
  • A robust assessment system to enable systematic progression through to completion of surgical specialty training.
  • Regulation of progression through training by the achievement of outcomes that are specified within the specialty curricula.
  • Formulation and delivery of surgical care by surgeons working in a multidisciplinary environment.
  • Collaboration with those charged with delivering health services and training at all levels.

Equality, diversity and inclusion are integral to the rationale of the curriculum, underpinned by the generic professional capabilities component and the Joint Surgical Colleges Equality and Diversity Policy (July 2013). The ISCP encourages a diverse surgical workforce to be  realised through each individual hospital trust’s equality and diversity management policies, using methods that will:

  • ensure that every individual is treated with dignity and respect irrespective of their age, disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or marital status, or whether they have undergone gender reassignment or are pregnant.
  • promote equal opportunities and diversity in training and the development of a workplace environment in which colleagues, patients and their carers are treated fairly and are free from harassment and discrimination.

Transfer to the latest curriculum

Where an older version of the curriculum is superseded, trainees will be expected to transfer to the most recent version in the interests of patient safety and educational quality.

You should transfer to the August 2021 curriculum if you are:

  • entering Core Surgical Training (CT1) or Run-through training (ST1)
  • entering Cardiothoracic Surgery or Neurosurgery at CT2 or ST2
  • entering Specialty Training at ST3 (or ST2 Neurosurgery )
  • entering a new Specialty Training level from ST4 to ST6 (OMFS/Urology) or ST7
  • a CESR applicant

You will not need to transfer if you are:

  • entering the final year of Core Surgical Training (CT2) or Run-through training (ST2) (except as above)
  • entering your final year of Specialty Training ST7 (OMFS/Urology) or ST8
  • remaining at your current level, on less than full time or out of programme

However, if you wish to transfer, please speak to your Training Programme Director.

All trainees must have transitioned to the 2021 curriculum by 2nd August 2023.

How to transition to the new curriculum?

This video illustrates whether you need to transfer to the August 2021 Curriculum and how todo so.

Please see Transition arrangements for more information.