ISTP posts in Neurosurgery are offered at ST3+ level for a duration of between 12 to 24 months.  This specialty involves the brain, central nervous system and spinal cord. It covers all aspects of brain surgery, from pre-operative imaging to removal of tumours. You may focus on: paediatric neurosurgery, neuro-oncology (treating cancer of the brain), functional neurosurgery (surgical management of a wide range of neurological problems, including intractable pain, epilepsy and movement disorders), traumatology, neurovascular surgery, skull-base surgery or spinal surgery.  More information about this specialty can be found on the RCS website

All posts are fully supervised, contain a strong element of training and are approved by the relevant Deanery or Local Education & Training Board (LETB). 

If you are interested in joining ISTP: Neurosurgery, please visit our ISTP Page for further details about the application process. 

Once matched and placed, ISTP trainees are fully supported by the RCS in the following ways:

  • Quality assurance of the training undertaken by the RCS.
  • Ongoing advice, guidance and pastoral care throughout the duration of the placement.
  • A professional home at the RCS through automatic affiliate membership of the college.
  • Enrollment into the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP), which will support the training undertaken in the Trust.
  • Invitations and access to RCS courses, induction days, annual symposia and masterclasses.
  • Eligibility to apply for the ISTP Research & Projects Fund.
  • Award of an RCS Certificate of Completion at the end of the placement.

Eligibility requirements:

Applicants wishing to join ISTP must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be working within an ISTP Partner Institution.
  • You must be resident overseas at the time of applying to the programme and have no rights of residence in the UK/EU/EEA/Switzerland.
  • You must hold a Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) that is recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC) and verified by the ECFMG.
  • You must have completed an acceptable internship (or equivalent) of not less than 12 months following your undergraduate training.
  • You must have completed at least 3 years of full-time clinical practice or training.(equivalent to ST3 or above in the UK) since obtaining your PMQ, including the most recent 12 months. (Please note: clinical attachments or observerships do not count).
  • You must have passed the MRCS (UK) or hold an acceptable alternative qualification.
  • You should not have previously attempted the GMC Professional and Linguistics Assessment Board (PLAB) test.
  • You must have achieved a minimum score of 7.0 in each category of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test and achieved an overall score of at least 7.5 or a grade "B" in each testing area of the medicine version of the Occupational English Test (OET).


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