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

The school will deliver the requirements of General Medical Council (GMC) for core surgical training and specialty education programmes within the South West Peninsula, embracing the needs and interests of all parties involved – to include the Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education, the Royal College of Surgeons, GMC, the employing Trusts and the Peninsula Medical School.

The Postgraduate School of Surgery Board carries responsibility for managing the education of surgical trainees from the beginning of core surgical training until specialist training is completed. Training in surgery has changed radically over the last few years. Most established consultant surgeons were trained under an apprenticeship scheme, without a formal recognised curriculum. As such, the system was somewhat haphazard, with the result that standards were seen to be very variable. Many years were spent in a collaborative project between the surgical Royal Colleges in the United Kingdom developing a new curriculum. This new curriculum has now been adopted for all surgical training. Further details can be found on the ISCP (the Inter-Collegiate Surgical Curriculum Project) - all trainees will need to become familiar with this website as they navigate through their training.

In particular the school aims to achieve the following functions:

  • To ensure that the provision of education in the Surgical Specialties is of a consistent high quality across the Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education.
  • To manage the process of selection into CST level and into the higher specialty levels.
  • To recommend placements of trainees into appropriate training locations.
  • To ensure adequate delivery of the processes of induction and appraisal.
  • To oversee the implementation of competency based assessment in surgical specialties. 
  • To introduce and manage effective reviews of trainee progress, by a system of annual review (ARCP), including recommendations for awards of CCT.
  • To oversee and manage the development and delivery of training courses to support the surgical curricula for all levels of trainee.
  • To contribute to the development of Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education's strategy for training surgeons.
  • To ensure that the School delivers a strategy for training in research and teaching skills.
  • To assist the Quality Assurance Team on the quality control of training as laid out by GMC, and to ensure that necessary reports are produced by training supervisors in the medical specialties and by heads of specialty programmes and schools.
  • To ensure that Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education's policies for dealing with trainees in difficulty are followed in all surgical specialities, and that the Educational Supervisors have appropriate training for this role.
  • To ensure that Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education's policies for selection skills training are applied within the School.
  • To review the results of feedback surveys, including the GMC Trainees’ survey, and ensuring that appropriate responses and actions are made.
  • To appoint (in conjunction with other interested parties, (e.g. Royal College of Surgeons, Trusts) the key educational posts (CST and STC chairs, College Tutors and Educational Supervisors), in an open and transparent fashion.
  • To prepare written reports (as required) for submission to Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education and Colleges.


Ms Esther McLarty
Head of the School