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The aim of the School of Surgery, within Health Education England, is to deliver excellent education and training in surgery in general and its specialties.

Surgery and surgical training are all about patients and their well-being. Trainees are responsible for the delivery of a significant proportion of the patient care of the local population, so the Postgraduate School of Surgery is particularly concerned with safety; ensuring that high quality surgical training takes place safely and producing surgeons who practice safely for the rest of their professional lives.

The Postgraduate School of Surgery Board carries responsibility for managing the education of surgical trainees from the beginning of Core Training after the Foundation years until specialist training is completed. The Postgraduate School works closely with the other twelve Severn Postgraduate Schools that collectively manage all the medical and surgical specialties that currently have formal curricula.

Initiated by Professor Richard Canter, and developed by Mr Steve Eastaugh-Waring, the core values of the Postgraduate School of Surgery are:

  • Patient Safety
  • Excellence
  • Collegiality
  • Subsidiarity
  • Professionalism

Patient Safety

We must make the care of our patients our first concern and must take prompt action if we think patient safety is being compromised. These are the primary principles of any surgeon of any grade. The School of Surgery strongly supports the these principles.


We wish to support and develop not only the trainee in difficulty but also the exceptional and gifted trainee. Excellence is recognised by the Core Trainee of the Year prize, and the overall Surgical Trainee of the Year prize. The programme also encourages trainees to seek out fellowships, present at meetings and obtain higher degrees. School News Items and our Trainee Success page are full of such achievements. We would encourage you to let us know about any awards, successful visits and fellowships, and higher degrees with which you’ve been involved so your fellow trainees can benefit from centres of excellence.

We believe in a strong basic sciences programme of anatomy, physiology and pathology for all surgeons no matter what their level and continually develop our programmes year by year. Although this is aimed principally at the core trainee (who will be given priority), it may be that occasional places may be available on a first come first served basis for others. 


The Board regards it as very important in the era of reduced working hours to maximise the opportunities for learning between faculty and trainees in the theatre, clinics, wards and other learning environments. To support this, a regular series of Regional Specialist Training Days for the nine surgical specialties aimed at ST3 and above has been in existence for some time. In October 2008 we started a programme of Regional Training days for Core Surgical Trainees to cover the syllabus needed to pass the MRCS. We have worked hard to improve and extend this programme to include technical and non-technical skills days, plus an introduction to leadership, which all Core Trainees are expected to complete.

Previous research conducted by our trainees on surgical learning has clearly demonstrated the importance of peer-learning between trainees themselves. Research collaboratives in both General Surgery and T&O are already well established. In addition, an Educational website around Cancer has been developed (ePOSSUM) and all will be welcome to become involved as it progresses. 


The term ‘subsidiarity’ means the process to devolve effective decision making to the lowest appropriate administrative level so that sensible training decisions can be made as often as possible between trainer and trainee. This also implies that we encourage trainees to take charge of their own training by taking the initiative to seek out training and research opportunities wherever they can.


As a group, surgeons are trusted and looked up to by their patients and colleagues, co-workers and support staff. We garner a great deal of respect, and at the School we believe it is essential to acknowledge that, as well as earning and maintaining said trust. Professionalism is at the very core of what we practice and stand for. It includes the way we approach patients, our maintenance of confidentiality, the way we dress and conduct ourselves, not only in work, but at conferences, assessments and educational events. We represent not only ourselves, but the Deanery, and above all, our profession. Please let none of us forget that fact.

Rob Longman

Head of the Severn Postgraduate School of Surgery