London Postgraduate School of Surgery

Our mission is to elevate surgical training in London to be the envy of the world.  We aim to set and maintain the highest levels of excellence in all aspects of surgery while providing support and advice to our surgeons throughout their careers.

Surgery is that part of medicine in which practice includes principle or major therapeutic options which are physically interventional.  Such therapy may involve open incisions, endoscopes or radiological modalities to visualise tissues, and various instruments, electrical current, LASER light or ultrasound to disrupt tissues as well as screws, sutures and glues to hold them together.  In these ways, specific treatment options can be offered to patients suffering from a wide variety of diseases.The specialties of Ophthalmology and Obstetrics & Gynaecology have much in common with surgery but in the UK, for reasons which are at least in part historical, ‘surgery’ includes the specialties of General Surgery, Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery, Otolaryngology (commonly called ENT), Plastic Surgery, Paediatric Surgery, Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic surgery, Urology, Vascular Surgery and Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS).Entry into surgical training takes place after completion of Foundation training, although doctors interested in a career in surgery are strongly encouraged to undertake at least one surgical placement in their Foundation programme.  A small number of opportunities exist for entry into academic surgical training as an ACF.  For the majority, the first step in surgical training is through the two-year core surgical training programme but applicants should also consider established and emerging options for runthrough training.

In London, options exist for trainees with well-established career plans to select themed core programmes, designed to optimise their chances for selection into specialty training at ST3 level in one specific area of surgery, as well as opportunities in generic programmes for trainees with an interest in surgery in general, but without a well-defined specialty of interest.  The London core programme offers an anatomy teaching programme, regular in-course assessment and seminars on careers, leadership and communication as well as access to the many research and subspecialty clinical institutions of the capital. From ST3 and onwards, London offers training opportunities in all the specialties within Surgery in programmes which benefit from their association with the rich health science community of London.  Programmes are balanced with placements in hospitals delivering more high volume, core care to fulfil curricular requirements.


Head of School


After acting as the deputy head of school since 2015, John Brecknell took up the head of school role in Aug 2017.  He is a Neurosurgeon working in Romford and has had various roles in other areas of medical education including leading the final MBBS year of Barts & The London School of Medicine & Dentistry and co-editing the 2017 core surgical curriculum.  He currently chairs the Core Surgical Training Advisory Committee of the JCST.

Deputy Head of School


Mr Dominic Nielsen is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at St George’s Hospital in London. His clinical interests are foot and ankle surgery and complex lower limb trauma. He is a keen advocate of surgical education and is currently Training Programme Director for Higher Orthopaedics in South London and Deputy Head of Post Graduate School of Surgery in London.