Cardiothoracic Surgery Training Programme in Severn and Peninsula PGME


Rotation Information

Deanery Rotation Base(s)

  • Derriford Hospital - Plymouth
  • Bristol Royal Infirmary - Bristol
  • Bristol Royal Hospital for Children - Bristol
  • Bristol Heart Institute - Bristol 

Deanery Information

  • The Severn and Peninsula Deanery have dedicated cardiothoracic support staff at each centre
  • Severn Deanery – Susan House
  • Peninsula Deanery – Carla Miners
  • Funding streams are available through the Severn Deanery to a maximum of £550 per annum/trainee
  • Annual questionnaire for trainee satisfaction

The South West regional training scheme in cardiothoracic surgery is shared between Univeristy Hospitals Bristol (Severn Deanery) and Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (Peninsula Deanery). Supervision of the programme is led through the Severn Deanery, however the TPD rotates between the two centres. Trainees rotate between the two centers with approximately half their training at either centre. Appointment to the rotation at ST1/ST3 level is through national recruitment.

There are 4 deanery approved training posts in Bristol with one Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) post. Plymouth has 5 deanery approved training posts.

ST1 Rotation
The ST1 post is based in Plymouth and comprises 2 years at Core Trainee level with 6 months General Surgery, 6 months Vascular Surgery and 12 months Cardiothoracic Surgery before progressing through to the SouthWest ST3 rotation. Trainees will attend the Cardiothoracic ARCP during their ST1-2 training.

ST3 Rotation
Expected rotation arrangements for this programme are:

  • Nationally selected trainees will rotate between Bristol and Plymouth spending 2-4 years in either post
  • In both centres trainees will spend 6 months in a firm based (consultant clinical supervisor) arrangement under a single educational supervisor
  • ACFs will be based in Bristol for the first 3 years of their training
  • Paediatric cardiac surgery is based in Bristol. Trainees will spend at least 6 months in the unit

Registrar rotas at both units are compliant with the EWTD. Features include:

  • Non-resident on call registrar
  • Day off post on-call (Bristol cardiothoracic trainee workload ranks in the best 5% of UK programs in the GMC survey)
  • Firm based training at core training level and beyond
  • Structured training for core trainees by SCPs in theatre
  • Nurse Practitioner support in ward areas

Trust/Training Information

Training in Bristol takes place on three sites within the University Hospitals Bristol campus. The purpose-built Bristol Heart Institute opened in 2009 and houses adult heart surgery (1700 cases annually). Thoracic surgery undertakes 900 cases annually and is based in the new surgical block at Bristol Royal Infirmary, opened in 2014. The Bristol Royal Hospital for Children houses congenital cardiac surgery (400 cases annually). There are 15 Consultant Surgeons including 2 Professors.

Particular strengths include a strong tradition of training in cardiac surgery (more than 50% of cardiac cases performed by trainees), including excellent experience in OPCAB. There are research opportunities with the renowned Academic Surgical Unit.

Courses in aortic surgery and minimal access surgery, weekly postgraduate seminars and regional study days are available. There is an active TAVI programme and a dedicated hybrid theatre.

The thoracic unit has a particular interest in minimal access surgery. It one of only two European centers to host Clinical Immersion Courses in VATS lobectomy with Covidien, and is hosting an ESTS Itinerant Expert Course in 2015. In 2013, 60% of all lobecotmies were performd thoracoscopically. There is also an active endobronchial and surgical lung volume reduction programme, suported by a severe COPD MDT.

Training in Bristol will comprise time spent in adult & paediatric cardiac and general thoracic surgery, depending upon the trainee’s career intentions. There will be excellent training in all aspects including OPCAB/minimal-access surgery & VATS resections.


The academic component is based at the Bristol Heart Institute, linked with the University of Bristol. Bristol is a Russell Group University, ranked within the top 30 Universities in the world (QS world rankings 2014). The medical academic staff includes:

X1 British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiac Surgery
X1 Bristol University Professor of Cardiac Surgery
X2 Bristol University Readers of Cardiac Surgery
X1 Research Fellow

There are a large number of high impact papers published by our trainees each year.

The Plymouth component of the training programme is based at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth which has, in the last two years relocated to the £40 million Sir Terence Lewis Building - The South West Cardiothoracic Centre, performing 1300 adult cardiac and 600 general thoracic procedures annually.

There are 6 full time cardiac consultants and 2 full time thoracic consultants. Minimally invasive oesophageal surgery (MIO) has now relocated from Exeter to Derriford. The South West is one of very few UK cardiothoracic programmes able to offer training in oesophageal surgery.

Particular areas of specialisation include minimal access mitral and aortic valve surgery, TAVI, AF surgery, minimally invasive valve suregry and aortic surgery

Training has been particularly strong in this region,yu with skilled trainees performing up to 50% of the cases. There has been excellent progression of trainees from ST3 level to completion with 100% of recent graduates taking up consultant posts.

Both Bristol and Plymouth are designated Adult Major Truma Centers (MTC). BRCH is a designated paediatrc MTC.


There are a number of regular teaching sessions and formal study days arranged throughout the year:

  1. Weekly departmental teaching for trainees in Plymouth and Bristol
  2. Monthly regional Core Trainee Meetings (Peninsula)
  3. Regional study days held 3-4 times per year between Severn and Peninsula Deaneries
  4. Aortic Valve Study Day – March 2011 (Peninsula)
  5. Aortic Surgical Study Day (Bristol) – Nov 2011 (Severn, Peninsula, Cardiff and Wessex Deaneries)
  6. Minimally Invasive Workshop – Bristol – Nov 2011
  7. Mitral Study Day and Wetlab teaching – March 2012 – (Peninsula)
  8. Cardiopulmonary Bypass Study Day – March 2013
  9. horacic Stapling and Airway Anastomosis Course – Bristol Nov 2013
  10. Modern Management of Lung Cancer Symposium Bristol 2014

Our faculty are actively involved with national educational events including:

  1. Specialty Skills Course in Cardiothoracic Surgery
  2. Intermediate Skills Course
  3. Professional Development Course
  4. Birmingham Review Course
  5. RCSEng Training the Trainer Course
  6. SCTS University
  7. Cardiothoracic Trainees National “Boot Camp”



All trainees are allocated £550.00 per annum for study leave and are encouraged to regularly submit and present at regional, national and international meetings.

Consultants from both units are involved with undergraduate training at a national level:

  • Basic skills course CTh RCSE
  • Intermediate skills course RCSE
  • Birmingham review course
  • SCTS University
  • Professional development course


Training Programme Director – Mark Yeatman

Education & Programme Manager – Susan House responsible for recruitment and selection, quality monitoring, rotations, deanery representation on committees, and any changes to trainees personal data.



The next ARCP date is 22nd March 2019


14th June 2019  in Severn PGME.