International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP)

ISTP is a leading fellowship scheme which provides invaluable experience and career development opportunities for surgeons from low and middle-income countries.

Training with a difference.

This programme enables a limited number of overseas surgeons to undertake specialist clinical training in the UK National Health Service (NHS) for a minimum of 12 months up to a maximum of two years.  

The RCS facilitates registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) and sponsorship for the supporting Tier 5 visa that doctors will need in order to come to the UK.

Once accepted onto the programme, the RCS aims to match and place trainees within a UK Trust within 12 months. This timeline is dependent upon the availability of suitable posts and the specialty/ development needs of the trainee.

How we work.

The NHS is the world's largest publicly funded health service.  It deals with over one million patients every 36 hours and employs more than 1.3 million people.

At the RCS, we proactively engage with NHS Trusts and Health Boards to identify the training opportunities that are offered through ISTP.  We quality assure and accredit every aspect of the training  undertaken through regular monitoring as well as giving you access to an e-portfolio so that you can record your training whilst in the UK.  Upon successful completion of your training, you are awarded an RCS Certificate of Completion and become an ISTP Fellow in your chosen specialty.

Learn more.

Check whether you are eligible to apply
What supporting documents do you need ?
ISTP Partner Institutions
The ISTP application journey & process
Read our ISTP stories

ISTP: connect, register, apply.

Due to COVID-19, applications for the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP) are closed until further notice. 


 For trainees scheduled to arrive to the UK between March - August

 The RCS is exploring whether start dates for trainees scheduled to arrive to the UK between March – August can be postponed. If not, we are working with trusts to ensure that contingency plans are in place to adequately support trainees new to the NHS and ensure that induction periods remain in place.

 For trainees who have been accepted onto the programme

 For those trainees who have been accepted onto the programme, no placements will be made that have start dates prior to October 2020.  

 For trainees who have submitted applications already

 For those trainees who have applied for the programme already, your application will be processed as usual however, you may experience delays. Please bear with us during this busy period.

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Events, news & blog

Keep up-to-date with the latest news about our training initiatives and events. Our blog is also a resource of articles and interviews designed to answer common questions or career dilemmas in more detail.

Events, news & blog

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