How did you hear about the International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP)?
How long has your Trust been participating in the programme?
About 4 years.
Why did you chose to recruit overseas doctors through the ISTP?
It seemed like a well organised system of recruiting trainees who were already trained in their own countries and were looking to get some UK experience.
What is the main benefit for your Trust participating in the programme?
Regular supply of motivated trainees. Also not having to pay locum costs for middle grade doctors.
Ease of running this programme and management of the trainees. This is mainly due to the fantastic support we and the trainees get from Erinn Middleton!
What is your advice to Trusts that are thinking of appointing through the ISTP?
It is a very good scheme and that if they do pay regular locum fees then they will save money. They will get a regular supply of motivated trainees.
What is the highlight of having overseas doctors through the ISTP within your trust?
They bring a very good work ethic as so far they have all come from countries where they are used to working long hours therefore giving that ‘extra bit’ has never been an issue with the ISTP trainees.
What are the benefits of having ISTP trainees for your current UK trainees?
It is a mutual benefit. The ISTP trainees see the benefits of having a structured training programme and the UK trainees see how hardworking the ISTP trainees are.
What have you learned from having overseas trainees in your department?
I have learnt about the different methods of training in the various countries. I have also learnt of the different things that motivate careers that is influenced by where a trainee develops their skills.
Would you recommend the ISTP to your colleagues?
I have done. At least 3 other units have taken up the ISTP scheme as a result of my recommendation.
Did having an ISTP trainee present opportunities for other international cooperation?
The Jamaicans were brought because of a pre-existing cooperation. I am developing links with a Unit in India because of my present trainee.
What would be your one piece of advice to overseas surgeons coming
to train in the UK?
Come and do the UK part of your training when you are relatively senior where you are coming just to refine your operative skills. If you come too junior it is unlikely you will benefit as much. This is because of the competition with UK trainees for supervised operating. As a junior you will not get much operative experience in 2 years.
Also, it will be good if you can plan to take the international FRCS at the end of their 2 year programme.
What is your dream for the future generation of surgeons?
That the level of training and the surgical skills will be uniform throughout the world, thereby offering a high standard of patient care to all.