General Surgery Cover Photo

Section 1: Information about the writer

  • Mr Abdalla Mustafa, MBBS, MRCSed, Pg. Dip Medical Education. StR General Surgery, North East England.
  • Co-Author: Mr Hazim Eltyeb, MBBS, MRCSed. Senior clinical fellow, General Surgery, The Great Western Hospital, Swindon

Section 2: Scope of practice in the UK

General surgery is a broad term and you can choose during the programme your line of interest. You will then spend the last two years in your sub-speciality of choice to become either; a Colorectal, Upper GI, Hepatobiliary, Endocrine, transplant or Oncoblastic breast surgeon. Other area of interest depends on availability in the training area is Trauma surgery. Previously vascular surgery was included in this programme and now it is a separate speciality, although it is the same application and recruitment pathway.

Job description:

  • The work pattern and load is usually very busy and highly demanding with a reasonably quick turn over of patients compared to some other medical specialities.
  •  The work load is divided between elective and emergency sessions. The emergency work follows an on-call rota with a full team to look after acutely ill patients. There is usually a dedicated team that is freed from elective responsibilities for that specific time while on-call. On the other hand, elective day runs from 8:00 am till 5 or 6 pm. It is usually divided between elective operative lists, clinics, endoscopy and administrative sessions.
  •  The main difference between the trainees and consultants, apart from their position and experience, is the managerial side of the job, with more responsibilities on the consultant’s shoulders. Due to the busy nature of work and training, we have seen lots of trainees dropping out and changing specialties to find that balance between their personal life and work. On the other hand, many surgeons admire what they are doing simply because they enjoy operating and they find this very rewarding.