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Programme Description |   ARCP Information   |  ARCP Dates  | 

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Neurosurgery is the diagnosis and treatment of problems with the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous system. Trainees in Wessex have access to the leading facilities and renowned experts at the Wessex Neurological Centre. At the Centre a team of 12 consultant neurosurgeons will provide you with excellent comprehensive training in all aspects of neurological surgery for both adults and children.

A medical procedure in hospital. A&E. Treatment. Staff nurses wearing scrubs attending to a patient. Anaesthetised patient lying on a treatment table.

There are eight higher specialty training posts and five core training posts at the Wessex Neurological Centre. During the first two years of your training you will rotate between consultants and teams to ensure full coverage of the neurosurgery curriculum, including neuro-oncology, vascular neurosurgery, skull-base and pituitary disease, paediatric neurosurgery, spinal neurosurgery (including degenerative disease, intra- and extra-dural malignancy and trauma) and functional neurosurgery.

Exclusive neurosurgery training is from ST3 onwards and you will be assigned to a single consultant within three broader teams for placements of between four and six months. This is to allow mentoring focusing on the consultant's specific area of interest.

Your busy timetable will normally include outpatients’ clinics, departmental and MDT meetings and theatre sessions. Additional training sessions, with consultant supervision, will help you prepare for the FRCS(SN) exam. In addition, multi-deanery training meetings are held four times a year at Taunton with the neurosurgery departments from Plymouth, Bristol and Cardiff. Trainees are expected to attend Society of British Neurological Surgeons (SBNS) conferences at least once every two years, and SENA (South of England Neurosciences Association) meetings. 

The Specialist Advisory Committee (SAC) in Neurosurgery oversees your training and ARCPs (Annual Review of Competence Revision) are carried out annually, with performance based on your electronic portfolio on the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Project (ISCP). You will be expected to complete one MSF (multi-source feedback) per year, together with 40 other WBAs (Workplace Based Assessments) per year to demonstrate appropriate experience.

Your training at the Wessex Neurological Centre offers all of the following neurosurgical sub-specialties:

  • Neuro-oncology
  • Vascular neurosurgery
  • Skull Base Surgery
  • Spinal Surgery
  • Paediatric Neurosurgery
  • Functional Neurosurgery
  • Endoscopic Neurosurgery.

Where we provide training

All your training  from ST1 until the end of the ST8 year  will be at University Hospital Southampton, which is a major trauma centre and regional hub for neurological services that covers a catchment area of close to three million people. Wessex Neurological Centre includes two adult wards, a regional transfer unit and day-stay unit, an intensive care unit, neurology ward, three operating theatres, neuroradiolgy department with dedicated angiography suite, plus neuropsychology and neurophysiology departments. In addition, the hospital's paediatric unit has a neurosurgical ward.

Other opportunities for trainees

There are several opportunities to participate in clinical research projects and you will be encouraged to prepare and present papers at both national and international conferences.

What makes Wessex different?

The consultant neurosurgeons leading your training bring the broadest spectrum of experience, providing you with training in ALL aspects of adult and paediatric neurological surgery. You will also have support in many sub-specialist areas from an experienced and committed team of specialist nurses. We're especially pleased to offer you access to leading neuro-intensive care and paediatric intensive care facilities at the Wessex Neurological Centre. In addition, various research projects are under way at Southampton. Leadership and personal development is very much encouraged for all trainees at Wessex.

Is this right for you?

Neurosurgery is an intense and exciting career. As well as excellent surgical skills, trainees need a strong aptitude for communicating with patients, parents and carers, the ability to work in close-knit teams and the desire to contribute to the community of neurosurgery.

What to do next

Follow the links on the right-hand side of this page for more information. There's more information about neurosurgery from The Society of British Neurological Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons.

As well as learning at the Wessex Neurological Centre, you might want to do something to help with fundraising.

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Programme Description

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ARCP Information

ARCPs are held in June/July each year. All evidence is submitted electronically and is based around the ISCP website, the panel review this evidence and give an outcome. All trainees are then met for personal feedback and to plan future training needs. All new ST3s have an interim (mock) review at the mid-year point in March. Any trainees failing to achieve their targets will also be reviewed at this time.

Specific requirements which need to be achieved by ARCP date are clearly stated in your global objectives and include:

  • 1 MSF per year
  • 40 WBAs per year
  • Topics as required
  • Up to date CV on system
  • An Assigned educational supervisor (AES) report. At least one clinical supervisors report by someone other than your AES for each learning agreement.
  • An evidence section and logbook that are completed contemporaneously


The only paperwork required for ARCPs is:

  • Enhanced Form R (for revalidation)
  • Validated (signed) consolidated logbook for that training year


CCT requirements (if applicable)

An ARCP 6 needs to be awarded before a CCT can be awarded to a trainee. The JCST have outlined requirements for CCT in the Quality Assurance section of their website:


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