Rotation Information 

The South West Regional Neurosurgery training programme is based in two cities, over three sites:

  • Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust
  • Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • South West Neurosurgery Centre, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

The Departments of Neurosurgery at Southmead Hospital and Derriford Hospital have a strong reputation for clinical training of registrars. A high throughput of patients with a broad spectrum of neurosurgical disorders allows trainees to acquire valuable clinical and surgical skills. The training programme is further supported by departmental and neurosciences academic meetings, and teaching sessions. Joint regional postgraduate study days are organised on a termly basis. All trainees rotate through both units to enable them to experience a full range of neurosurgical conditions and management approaches. Trainees usually spend 5 years in one of the centres and then the remaining 3 years in the other training centre. All paediatric training is undertaken at the Bristol Children’s Hospital.

There are opportunities to pursue academic and educational projects, including Diplomas, MDs and PhDs, and we are fully involved in national neurosurgical and critical care research programmes. All trainees are encouraged to be members of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons (SBNS), providing access to E-Brain and enabling participation in the British Neurosurgery Trainee Association Research Collaboration.

Trainees also regularly participate in quality improvement projects, publish in neurosurgical journals and present at national and international conferences.

Entry to neurosurgery training is via a national selection process, co-ordinated by the Yorkshire and Humber Deanery

Their website provides guidance on the process of applying, along with a link to the person specifications required.

Mr Whitfield is the Secretary to the National Selection Board and is responsible for running the selection process.

Applicants usually enter at ST1 level, although there are occasional entries at ST3. Applicants undergo centralised interview, usually in Yorkshire.

Further guidelines on this process are available from the Yorkshire and Humber Deanery website above, or Modernising Medical Careers website ( and the Joint Committee on Intercollegiate Examinations website (

Training Programme Information

The training programme consists of an eight year training scheme:

Years 1-2
In the first 2 years, trainees undergo training in the care of neurosurgical and neurological patients. There is some exposure to the care of high dependency cases. Time is also spent in other disciplines (which may include plastic surgery, ENT, critical medicine) to ensure a broad range of skills are obtained. A minimum of 4 months in emergency medicine is essential during this early phase.

Years 3-5
There is strong emphasis on basic operative technique and clinical decision making during this period. Junior trainees are assigned to regular theatre sessions, and trainees are expected to participate in more than 200 cases per year. The bulk of the cases are trauma craniotomies, non-instrumented spinal procedures, tumour craniotomies and shunt surgery. Trainees also attend an outpatient clinic once a week. Regular attendance at departmental MDT meetings and teaching sessions is expected.

Years 6-8
With increasing experience, senior trainees progress towards more complex spinal procedures with instrumentation, craniotomy for intra-axial tumors and meningiomas, and posterior fossa surgery. Their responsibilities also include overseeing the clinical service, supporting junior trainees and teaching foundation trainees and medical students. At the completion of their training programme, trainees have usually developed a logbook of around 1500+ cases.

In the final two years, the emphasis is towards more complex neurosurgical procedures and succeeding in the Intercollegiate Board Examination in Neurological Surgery (FRCS,SN).

After the completion of training, trainees are encouraged to embark upon a 12 month training fellowship to further develop their chosen sub-specialist interest before commencing their neurosurgical careers.

Please also visit the Neurosurgery training section on the ISCP website.


Consultants at each of the training sites:


  • Mr Richard Nelson
  • Mr David Sandeman
  • Mr Ian Pople
  • Professor Steven Gill
  • Mr George Malcolm
  • Mr Nitin Patel
  • Mr David Porter
  • Mr Michael Carter
  • Mr Nik Patel
  • Mr Richard Edwards
  • Mr Ven Iyer


  • Mr Lou Pobereskin
  • Mr James Palmer
  • Mr Tim Germon
  • Mr Peter Whitfield
  • Mr Paul Fewings
  • Mr N Sudhakar
  • Mr Nicholas Haden
  • Surgeon Commander S Smith (Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon)
  • Mr H Sharma (Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon)


The next ARCP will be held on 3rd July 2019 in the morning for Plymouth trainees

followed by the Quality Panel. 

Severn trainees ARCP's will be 4th July 2019. 

Venue for all is at Severn PGME.