Surgical Skills Competition Launched 2019-2020

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01 Oct 2019

RCSEd together with sponsors Medtronic, a global leader in medical technology, services and solutions, have launched the nationwide Surgical Skills Competition to inspire, discover talent and provide a platform for the next generation of surgeons.

Surgery is an incredibly competitive area, so being able to demonstrate the commitment and the skills to become a surgeon at this early stage puts students at a great advantage later in their career.

The ground-breaking competition, now in its fifth year, has final year medical students from across the UK and Ireland demonstrate their surgical talents and skills in a series of challenges. The competition begins with 20 heats, one at each UK and Ireland medical school, where students are asked to undertake a series of surgical tasks such as suturing and knot-tying to laparoscopic skills tests with the winner of each heat announced on the night.

Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said:

“The Surgical Skills Competition is one of the high points of our College calendar year around the UK. The development and the acquisition of surgical skills is a crucial element for any doctor aspiring to surgical training. The competition for medical students is quite simply lots of fun but also represents a challenge, which I have watched many students over the years rise to. Last year’s competition was as keenly contested as ever and I have no doubt that this year will be just as exciting.”

The competition's last winner was University of Plymouth medical student, James Russell:

“I found the stations challenging and enjoyable. It was a great opportunity to practice on the state-of-the-art simulation equipment and to get feedback on my skills from experienced surgeons.

I am very keen to pursue surgery as a career prospect and winning the final has given me greater confidence in my practical skills.”

Enda Mulvany, Business Unit Director, Medtronic Surgical Innovations commented:

“As a leading technology provider to the NHS, Medtronic plays a considerable role in training and education of clinical staff, supporting the safe and effective use of products that bring benefit to patients. It is therefore very appropriate, and truly a pleasure, for us to partner with RCSEd once more in delivering the National Surgical Skills Competition. With advances in frontiers such as surgical navigation, robotics, visualisation and artificial intelligence, as well as improvements in more traditional technologies, such as Medtronic’s recently launched intelligent stapling platform, Signia, the future of surgery has never been more exciting. By encouraging interest in this career path at an early stage, we have an opportunity to ensure the future needs of the NHS for talented and skilful surgeons are met. I would like to wish the fledgling surgeons who enter this competition the very best of luck in their endeavours.”

The winner from each region will receive a travel and accommodation package to Edinburgh to stay at the College's Ten Hill Place Hotel and to participate in the Grand Final. The competition will culminate in Edinburgh on Saturday 14 March 2020 at which the 20 finalists will undertake a broad range of surgical procedures before determining who will be make the cut to become the overall winner presented at the Grand Final.

As well as prizes awarded to the winner and runner-up, all competition participants will receive a certificate of participation and gain two years’ affiliation to the RCSEd’s Affiliate Network. To find out more about the Surgical Skills Competition, visit or follow on social media via #SurgicalSkillsComp


About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505, and is based in Edinburgh and Birmingham. It is one of the oldest surgical corporations in the world with a worldwide membership of almost 29,000. The majority of our members practice across the UK, with 11,000 professionals based in England and Wales. The College also has a significant global presence with 11,000 members in over 100 countries worldwide. 

The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce. It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation.

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Issued by Beattie on behalf of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. For further information, please contact the team on or Emma Bain on 07730 415 096.   

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