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Messly Top Picks – Core Surgical Training

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In preparation for Specialty applications opening next month, we’re running a series of articles on the top selection of hospitals for speciality training. Our goal is to help you make evidence-based choices on your training. Read more about our mission here.

This week, we have used our Training Navigator to find the best rotations across the UK for General Surgery in Core Surgical Training.  This provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date ratings for individual NHS hospital rotations, with five star ratings based on the results of the 2016 GMC National Training Survey.

Rotations with 5 stars scored in the top 20% of jobs of that speciality and grade. Those in the bottom 20% will receive one star. This gives you an at-a-glance comparison of rotations, based on real feedback from doctors who have worked in that post in 2016. Read our guide for how to use the Training Navigator for more help.

Here are the hospitals with the highest ratings across the board for general surgery at Core Surgical Trainee level.

Top Picks - Core Surgical Training
All data is sourced from the GMC National Training Survey: Messly have devised their 5 star rating by grouping hospitals for each measure in quintiles, based on their ranking for the same programme and training level.


Coming top of our rankings is the University Hospital of North Tees which has the highest overall satisfaction in core general surgery training across UK. It is in the top 10 for every other indicator in our rankings- the only hospital to achieve this.

Coming in second is Wycombe Hospital. This hospital is in the top 10 for every category except workload, which still ranks highly compared with all hospitals nationally. Trainees thinking about Oxford should also look at the John Radcliffe Hospital – another one of our top picks and a traditional centre excellence. Surprisingly the workload is rated as one of the most manageable in the UK.

The North West regional hospitals come in third and fourth in our top picks. Blackpool Victoria Hospital is clearly a favourite with trainees, having recently featured in our Top Picks for Core Anaesthetics Training. The Royal Liverpool also scores highly and good for trainees who want a busier job and less supervision.

Scottish and Northern Irish hospitals feature heavily in our top-rated general surgery rotations, in keeping with our previous analysis on how satisfaction levels are high in these areas. Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow has 5 star ratings for every indicator; trainees clearly feel well-supported here as it has the highest rating nationally for  supportive environment. Western General Hospital has lower ratings for this and workload, however trainees rate it highly for clinical supervision. Craigavon Area Hospital in Northern Ireland features in the Top 10 nationally for supportiveness and satisfaction, but expect to have a busy rotation with less supervision.

What about London & the South?

It’s clear from our analysis that London hospitals do not offer the best training at Core Surgery level and lags behind the rest of the country with trainee satisfaction. Over 70% of hospitals in the London region had overall satisfaction ratings of 3 stars or below. For those insistent on the capital the Royal Free Hospital narrowly missed on making our top picks. Those of you who are keen to stay south should consider Southend Hospital which has five stars in every category. We’ve picked out this review from the Messly community on their experience here:

Learn More:

1) Read more about our mission to help doctors make evidence-based career choices.

2) Get started with our Training Navigator to dive deeper with into ratings across the country.

3) Have you worked at any of these hospitals? Leave a review of your rotation to help other doctors chose theirs.

4) Keep up-to-date with the latest evidence-based views on medical careers by following us on Facebook and Twitter

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