Hostile Environment Surgical Training, United Kingdom (HEST-UK)

Key Facts

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HEST-UK December course is fully booked. To join the waiting list, please email

Course Overview

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, in collaboration with the David Nott Foundation (DNF), are delivering the HEST-UK (Hostile Environment Surgical Training, United Kingdom) course directed by Professor David Nott and the DNF Faculty Team.

This interactive five-day course will provide participants with an understanding of the decision-making strategies that have proven effective in surgical settings in austere conditions. By the end of the course, you will be ready to work in a humanitarian crisis, providing emergency surgical care to populations exposed to or recovering from the health consequences of conflict and catastrophe.

The course content covers cases associated with conflict and catastrophe, particularly penetrating and crush injuries as well as the management of trauma of the limbs, head, thorax, and torso. A further focus is on post-disaster/conflict procedures including skin flaps and grafts, and the management of orthopaedic fractures using external fixation and traction. One day of the course also deals with the decision-making and management of obstetric emergencies including post-partum haemorrhage and caesarean section.

Course Format

A five-day intensive cadaveric-based course including:

  • Practical demonstrations
  • Interactive case scenarios
  • Hands-on cadaveric workshops
  • Lectures


Healthcare professionals operating or preparing to operate in conflict zones and austere environments.

Relevant Grades: ST7, ST8, SAS Grades and Consultants.

Course Objectives

This course will significantly enhance the trauma surgery and decision-making skills of medical professionals operating in countries impacted by conflict and catastrophe.

Training to provide safe, skilled surgical care will result in improved surgical outcomes for civilians impacted by conflict.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, delegates will be ready to work in a humanitarian crisis, providing emergency surgical care to populations exposed to or recovering from the health consequences of conflict and catastrophe.

Course Director

Professor David Nott

Course Costs

Course Fee - £1,990.00

June 2024 Highlights

This HEST Course is probably the best course I've ever done, and it's been really amazing. It's been great to meet other people from different countries, other sub specialities, see techniques that the other specialties do and it's excellent for cross fertilisation of techniques and also to get back to the basics of surgery, which I think is really important and I would highly recommend doing this course. I hope to go on some deployments after this and I've met some really fantastic people this week.”

Norma Gibbons, Consultant Urologist


“I attended this course having done a small amount of humanitarian work, and I just wanted to understand more about what the surgical options were for treating people in austere environments and the course has been beyond my expectations. It's really been exceptionally interesting and helpful, and I feel like I can now help support the surgeons in these environments, to make the right decisions.”

Nicki Ross, Consultant Anaesthetist


“It's been exceptional. It's a five-day intensive course. It's all action-packed and it's all hands on which is fantastic. There are minimal lectures, so it's very interactive and we've covered every speciality and I think it's an exceptional course because it not only covers the specialty that I'm interested in, but it covers every specialty, plastics, obs and gynae, orthopaedics and the chest. I think it's a course every surgeon should attend and it's the skills that we should all be familiar with as general surgeons, and I really recommend it.”

Mohammed Farooq, General Surgical and Colorectal Surgeon


 Photography credit: Sally Taylor Photography

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact the Education Section?

The Education Section is open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.  If you wish to contact a member of the team please see contact details below:

Education mailbox:

Phone number:  0131 527 1600

Will I receive CPD?

All RCSEd educational activity is awarded CPD hours. Please see individual course for specific award.

Will I receive a Certificate?

Yes, RCSEd Certificates of Attendance are awarded for all educational courses and are handed out at the end of the course (however, please note that where an event has a PASS or FAIL this will be posted to you after the event). 

What is RCSEd’s course cancellation policy?
  1. What happens if RCSEd cancels a course I am booked on?
  2. On occasion, RCSEd may need to cancel a course, for example if we are affected by an event out with our control or if it is not financially viable for us to deliver the course. If we do need to cancel, we will let you know as soon as possible and provide you with a full refund of course fees paid.

RCSEd shall incur no further liability (eg. travel or accommodation costs). You may wish to consider taking out appropriate travel insurance for any non-refundable costs you may incur when arranging to attend the course.

  1. What happens if I need to cancel my place on a course I am booked?
  2. If you cancel your place more than four weeks before the event date, you will incur an administration fee of 10% (or £50, whichever is greater) of the total course fee. NB: For course fees £250 and under, the cancellation fee is £30)

If you cancel your place less than four weeks before the course date, once the course has started, or you do not notify us, the total course fee will be charged, and no refund will be given.

Please also note that you cannot transfer your place on a Course to someone else.  This is because many of our courses have a waiting list, and we have an obligation to honour this.

  1. Can I cancel a course booking online?
  2. NO, cancellations must be made directly with the education team by email (
  3. Can I transfer to another date for the same course?
  4. YES, you can transfer to another date by contacting the Education section directly ( Please note that you can transfer only once and transfers can only be made if more than 4 weeks prior to the start of the course, without incurring additional costs.  Should you cancel again, no refund shall be given.

Should you have any further questions, the Education Team can be contacted on 0131 527 1600 or by email to

How do I book a place on an RCSEd course?

You can book a place for all our courses by visiting the RCSEd website, and selecting the course you wish to book.  Please note that you will need to register with the website in order to book.

For some regional and international courses you will need to book directly with the centre.  Please check individual courses for details.

You can also contact the Education Section by phone to book (0131 527 1600).

What payment methods do RCSEd accept?

Visa and MasterCard are accepted on the RCSEd website and over the phone to the education team.

All course bookings will receive a booking confirmation email:  this email acts as your receipt.

Request an Invoice:  If your course fees will be paid by a third party (eg trust, hospital, charitable fund) and they wish to be invoiced then they must provide us with an official purchase order.  We are unable to process applications without this.

The purchase order should be submitted with the application form and can be emailed to  Please note that we can only invoice organisations and not individuals.  Please check with your hospital or trust, as some may require you to pay yourself and then claim the money back.

Do I receive a discount if I am a Member of RCSEd?

A 10% discount is applied to all educational courses and events organised directly through RCSEd, for Members, Fellows, Associates and Affiliates.

Are you able to help me with my VISA application?

YES, RCSEd can provide you with a Visa support letter confirming the course details and fees paid by you.  This is only possible once you have booked your place on a course and RCSEd have received the full course fee.

If a course is fully booked what can I do? Is there a waiting list?

If a course appears full and you wish to be placed on a waiting list then please contact the education team directly by email or phone 0131 527 1600.

Do you provide lunch or refreshments?

YES, for all educational courses, refreshments are served throughout the day and lunch is provided if the duration is one day or more.

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Get in touch

If you have any questions about this course, please contact us and a member of our Education team will be happy to help you.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
The Education Section

Phone: +44 (0)131 527 1600
Fax: +44 (0)131 557 6406