May 8th, 2016

UK postgraduate and general surgery training before MMC

I have a character who graduated from medical school (England, probably Oxford) around 1997/98/99 and goes on to become a general surgeon. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any detailed information about what that entailed before Modernising Medical Careers came along in 2003/2005.

I know that officially you'd do:

1 years as a PRHO
2 (often more) years as a SHO
4-6 years as a Specialist Registrar

… and then become a consultant after you'd gotten your CCT.

I've found out that PRHO involved rotations through different specialties, and I've read somewhere that you even changed the hospitals you'd work at for each rotation. Is that true? What about being a SHO? On the one hand I've read this involved rotations, on the other hand, I've read that the SHO grade was replaced with today's ST1/ST2 or CT1/CT2, where you've already chosen a specialty and are learning the basics of your chosen field. Was it a bit of both????

How long did rotations typically last? (If this was area specific, think Greater London or Oxford)

My main problem here is that while the terms are no longer used officially, they still exist unofficially, so I can't tell what content is relevant to my research.

I can't find any information specific to general surgery training at that time, either. How many years was the specialist registrar training exactly? Seeing as MMC was, at least in part, about shortening the time of training, and training for general surgery now takes 8 years if you count the core training and all, I'm a bit confused.

Also, how much responsibilities did one have at each step? And for the specialty training, what were some of the things you were expected/allowed to do with or without supervision as the years progressed? I've read that in the new system, you're expected to operate independently from early on once you've finished your core training, for example. Was the same true in the old system?


As an add-on: I know there is a working time directive in place these days that limits the number of working hours for junior doctors, but what were working hours like in the late 90s/early 2000s?

I'd be grateful for any answers, anecdotes, links to blogs/websites or book recommendations you can give me :)



Searches done: Checked wikipedia. Googled variations of 'How to become a (general) surgeon in the UK/England before 2003/MMC', 'surgical training uk/england (before 2003)', PRHO/SHO/specialist registrar duties/role/work etc. Relevant little_details tags