Scottish Surgical Simulation Collaborative

Simulation is an exciting and rapidly developing contemporary modality of surgical training, and includes many models of real life events. The evidence base is well established, so in an era of reduced hours of training, patient safety dictates that we must not be left behind other high risk industries, but should press ahead. That is why simulation is now being integrated into the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum. However the details of how that will be delivered, are to be determined region by region.

Scotland is rich in simulation facility and expertise, but so far poor in co-ordination and strategy. Therefore the Scottish Surgical Simulation Collaborative (SSSC) was begun in 2012 as a bicollegiate group of the RCSEd and RCPSG, with close ties to NHS Education for Scotland.

It comprises trainers and trainees, representatives from the Colleges and the other simulation facilities, and directors of whichever training programmes it is working with at the time. The SSSC has been asked to work with whichever programmes so wish, to provide strategic recommendations and see simulation properly integrated.

In its first year, the SSSC began with two workstreams:

  1. Implementation for the two Core Surgical Training programmes (East and West of Scotland). 
  2. Faculty development

In its second year, the SSSC has begun working with urology and vascular surgery, and campaigning for funding. The SSSC will be always open to work with other specialties who wish, and specialties are encouraged to get in touch.

At the outset the SSSC agreed the following principles:
  • Simulation is only a tool, never a substitute.
  • Simulation-based surgical training must include both technical and non-technical skills, and there is considerable expertise on hand in both these fields.
  • Because of Scotland’s multiple centres of training and simulation facility and expertise, a multi-centre approach to simulation would be appropriate, rather than hub-and-spoke as occurs in some other regions.
  • Courses should be only the tip of a pyramid Surgical Training 

  • Faculty development will be important. Though simulation is only a tool in surgical education, it does require specific understanding and training for trainers to deliver effectively (at least until these skills eventually become integrated into generic training-the-trainers courses).
  • Qualitative and quantitative validations studies should accompany the programmes.

For further information on Core Surgical Training recommendations click here.

Contact information

To contact the Scottish Surgical Simulation Collaborative (SSSC) Chairman Mr Alan Kirk please email SSSC Administrator Amanda Hamilton at

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