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London Postgraduate School of Surgery

Our mission is to elevate surgical training in London to be the envy of the world. We aim to set and maintain the highest levels of excellence in all aspects of surgery while providing support and advice to our surgeons throughout their careers.

Why choose this school?

The London Postgraduate School of Surgery is the largest surgical training organisation in the world. Responsible for managing more than 900 trainees, we offer programmes at prestigious teaching centres across the capital. These include:

  • Royal Brompton Hospital
  • University College London Hospital
  • Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
  • Barts & London NHS Trust
  • St George's Hospital

We provide world-class training for both career grade and academic surgeons who wish to excel in their specialty.

Who is the head?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these clips are individual perspectives and were correct at the time of filming. They should be understood as personal opinions. All information regarding the recruitment process and trainee pathway were correct at the time of filming. Shared Services either owns all images included or has been kindly granted permission for use.

Professor Nigel Standfield is head of the London Postgraduate School of Surgery and is also Professor of Vascular Surgery and Surgical Education at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Nigel is a consultant vascular surgeon and Professor at Imperial academic health sciences centre, based at Hammersmith and Charing Cross Hospitals. He has a busy clinical vascular practice covering all aspects of vascular disease. He has a major clinical and research interest in congenital vascular malformations.

Nigel is committed to education and training, particularly of postgraduates, as well as translational research, and has published extensively and presented at national and international meetings. He is the MSc surgical science director at Imperial College, an intercollegiate examiner for the FRCS in general surgery, and has been medical advisor to the British Council and the National Advisory centre for postgraduate medical education. He has also been an Associate Dean since 2005.

The London School of Surgery is the largest single training organisation for surgery in the world and Nigel is very proud of the extensive accomplishments that the school has achieved in its first two years. Nigel’s vision for surgical education and training in the medium and long term will have many more exciting, innovative developments.

Outside of medicine, Nigel's interests centre on sport, particularly rugby and cricket. He is married with three sons, one of whom is a professional rugby player.

Our programmes

Surgery has a complex training route as there is variation between different surgical specialties that lie within the broader surgical group. You will find detailed information on these within the surgical specialties on these pages.

Due to the many options available within surgery it can offer a demanding and challenging career. Surgery is a very competitive area of medicine and to succeed you have to be incredibly hard-working and determined.

Surgery comprises nine main specialties which have further options for sub-specialisation embedded within them. Throughout a surgical career, surgeons will work in a number of different jobs.

Most surgical work takes place within hospital settings and as well as performing operations, surgeons will also undertake ward rounds, outpatient clinics, administrative duties and teaching.

Surgeons work within multi-disciplinary teams comprising for example nurses, anaesthetists, radiologists and many others.

Most surgical specialties will involve two years of Core Surgical Training which follows on from the two year post-medical school Foundation Programme.

In years 1 and 2, trainees complete Core Surgical training at one of the larger teaching hospitals. The programme is divided as follows:

  • CT1: three surgical sub-specialty placements of four months each
  • CT2: two surgical sub-specialty placements of six months each

Trainees must pass the IMRCS exam and work-place based assessments during this two year period.

From ST3 onwards, trainees can apply to higher training programmes and train in one of the following sub-specialties:

  • general surgery
  • trauma and orthopaedic surgery
  • paediatric surgery
  • urology
  • cardiothoracic surgery
  • otolaryngology (ENT)
  • plastic surgery
  • oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS)

In the case of neurosurgery, trainees are recruited in ST1 and then complete a run-through training programme.

Specialty Training lasts approximately six years upon after which successful candidates will be awarded a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

Find out more

To find out more about training in surgery, visit the Royal College of Surgeons of England website.