Health Education North East - SSTP

The Northern School of Surgery in collaboration with the Newcastle Surgical Training Centre (NSTC) has developed a Surgical Skills Training Programme (SSTP) for Specialty Trainees in General Surgery, ENT, Urology, Orthopaedics, Plastics, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatric Surgery, OMFS, Ophthalmology and Radiology.  The programme is the first of its kind in the UK, and delivers an intensive, indivdualised, unique surgical training opportunity to Northern Deanery Surgical Trainees.  The programme includes fresh frozen cadaveric based skills training and assessment linked to the ISCP curriculum.

The programme is now in it's 10th year, and originally commenced as a pilot in the Specialties of General Surgery and ENT during 2011/12 and received excellent feedback.  Trainees in Urology and Core Orthopaedics joined the programme in September 2012, along with a further pilot for the Orthopaedic Intermediate Trainees which provided a comprehensive introduction to emergency procedures for Trauma & Orthopaedic Trainees in the Northern Region.  This also received excellent feedback, and has been implemented into their mandatory training programme. 

ST3 - ST8 Trainees in OMFS, ST1 - ST8 Trainees in Ophthalmology and ST3 - ST5 Trainees in Radiology have also joined the programme.

The latest development for 2020/21 is the addition of a Pilot Course for Neurosurgery Trainees ST2 - ST8.

The SSTP programme provides ample opportunities for Trainees to achieve ISCP assessments fully validated by ISCP Trainers.

Advanced trainees in the sub specialities of Upper GI, HPB, Vascular, Colorectal and Breast will rotate into an Emergency Trauma course during their ST8 year at the NSTC rather than rotating into the Course in their sub speciatlies.  Further details issued direct to all trainees.

The training groups are split into 3 categories: Core, representing CT1 & CT2, Intermediate ST3 & ST4, and Advanced ST5 - ST8, unless specified otherwise. 

Please click on the links below for further details of dates applicable to each Specialty and Trainee intake:

Core Trainees
CT1 - CT2
Intermediate Trainees
ST3 - ST4
Advanced Trainees
ST5 - ST8
General Surgery, ENT, Urology, Plastics, OMFS, Paediatric Surgery Cardiothoracic
General Surgery
General Surgery
BreastColorectalHPB & Upper GIVascularSSTP Emergency Trauma Course for ST8s
ST3 / ST4
ST3 / ST4
Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Obstetrics & Gynaecology

The programme is a visionary response to the rapidly changing face of surgery prompted by exiciting technological advances in surgical techniques and skills.


All Northern School of Surgery Core Trainees (CT1 & CT2) included in the Surgical Skills Training Programme have the unique opportunity of loaning Laparoscopic Simendos (virtual reality desk top training models) pictured here on a weekly basis from the NSTC.  This opportunity allows Trainees to enhance their laparoscopic skills, as they progress through the on-line modules and skills arena.


Trainees also have the opportunity to loan a simendo camera to practise and enhance their camera skills via on-line modules.

Electronic accredited certificates are sent to all Trainees upon successful completion of each module.

Trainee Comments :

CT1 General Surgery Trainees: "Fantastic opportunity to practice skills in a safe environment".   " I feel very privileged to have so much one to one teaching by Consultants, and it is so well organised". 

CT1 ENT Trainee:  "The NSTC courses contine to be a fantastic resource.

CT2 Urology Trainee:  "The Surgical Skills Training Programme definitely helped me to secure an ST3 post, it gave me the leading edge and made me stand out from Trainees from other Deaneries.  The panel were very impressed with the programme and the idea behind it"

CT2 Orthopaedic Trainee: "Thanks for all your support at the NSTC.  You guys are a real credit to the Deanery, everyone is always so organised and interested in us".

ST3/ST4 General Surgery Trainees: " Excellent Course, Facilities, Faculty and organisation, practical focus, opportunity to practise skills"

ST3/ST4 Orthopaedic Trainees:  "Excellent course allowing me to perform surgical exposures only previously know to me in theory from books.  A great way to actually learn the anatomy properly - making me more competent in day-to-day practice.  "Practical experience of surgical approaches without risk to patients".

ST5 General Surgery Trainee: "I would like to say that this years teaching was excellent, the Faculty, range of activities and facilities were excellent".

ST6 General Surgery Trainees: " The course was well structured, organised and delivered"

ST5 - 8 Breast Trainees:  " I would recommend this course 100% and look forward to next year"

ST5 - 8 Vascular Trainees:  "Excellent course, excellent staff with a wealth of knowledge.  Thoroughly recommended"

ST5 - ST8 Upper GI Trainees:  "Excellent two days, good value for money, for the amount of work covered".

To read further Trainee comments on the SSTP at each stage of training click on the links in the above table, and go to 'read more' in each section.

For all Surgical Skills Training Programme (SSTP) queries please contact: Mrs Sue Dent, NSTC Specialty Surgical Manager:

rcs-logos.png The Royal College of Surgeons of England is pleased to give its Support to the innovative Surgical Skills Training Programme Undertaken at the NSTC in conjunction with the Northern Deanery School of Surgery.

<<August 2020>>


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Newcastle Surgical Training Centre,
Freeman Hospital,
Freeman Road,
High Heaton,
Newcastle upon Tyne

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Tel: 0191 2231264

Fax: 0191 2237248


© Copyright NSTC 2012

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust gratefully acknowledge the generous support provided by the Newcastle Healthcare Charity (Reg. 502473) and the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity (Reg 1057213) who provided the initial funding to establish the Surgical Training Centre (Freeman Hospital)