Scottish Surgical Boot Camps


Course info, eligibility, personnel


With reduced hours of training, and more cross-covering, we can no longer rely so exclusively on apprenticeship and in-house teaching  to impart essential skills and “secrets of surgery” to Core Surgical Trainees. Like a brilliant but absent-minded professor, apprenticeship may forget to impart all its secrets to every trainee.

It is now known that simulation with formative assessment, feedback and repitition, can accelerate skills acquisition powerfully.

There is an increasing understanding of non-technical aswell as technical surgical skills. Trainees need these skills to work in or lead multiple and sometimes unfamiliar teams.

The faculty of this course have extensive experience of where surgeons in training tend to struggle, and have designed the content accordingly.

There is a window of maximum curiosity and learning on transition into Core Surgical Training. There are also shifts in thinking to be made, for example from following to leading a ward round or a trauma resuscitation.

A good start to a post often yields greater training opportunities.



First year (CT1 or ST1) trainees in Core Surgery or surgical specialties. If capacity allows, we may also give places to ST1 trainees in Gynaecology, and FY2 doctors with an interest in surgery or gynaecology. Booking preference may be given to CT1/ST1.

Knot-tying skills are required.




Scottish Surgical Boot Camp has been developed by the surgical departments and the Clinical Skills Centre in Raigmore Hospital Inverness, in partnership with two surgical Royal Colleges - Edinburgh and Glasgow. It was adopted by the 2 Scottish Core Surgical Training Programmes in 2014.

Faculty are drawn from Inverness and other centres, and include consultant surgeons, fellows/senior trainees and other experts, clinical skills centre staff and volunteer patient actors.

Directors:    Kenneth Walker, Colorectal Surgeon & Prof of Surgical Training (biog here)

                    Morag Hogg, General Surgeon & Local Training Programme Lead (biog here)

Chair:           Angus Watson, Professor of Colorectal Surgery (biog here)

Current Fellow:     Vivienne Blackhall, Simulation Fellow from Feb 2017

Facilitators:  Ailsa Armstrong & Maureen Williamson, Clinical Skills Educators

Start-up team: Ken Walker (team lead), Angus Watson (incl original idea), Morag Hogg, Diane Hildebrand, John Duncan, Kevin Baird, Natasha Ross, Stephen Hutchison, Ailsa Armstrong. We were grateful to Prof George Youngson, Craig McIlhenny and others for introducing the NoTSS material and to Klaas Schuur for the WANTS material.

Subsequent faculty include Bernhard Wolf, Aidah Isa, Steven Ross, Catriona Semple, Fiona Young, Simon McKean, Rosalyn Shearer, Jennifer Pollard, Ian Thomas, Mike Gale, Laura Nicol, Stephen McNally, Ruth McKee, David Exon, Ali Amin, Alasdair MacMillan, Jan Jansen, Alan Grant, Duncan Scrimgeour, Tamin Siddiqui, Nick Abbott, Simon Humphrey-Adam, Michael Walker, Malcolm Nicol, William MacLeod, Gerard Cousins, Andrew Renwick, Satheesh Yalamarthi, Michael Lim, James Milburn, Ronald MacVicar, Jerry O'Rourke, Aileen McKinley. The boot camp study was conducted by Prof Jennifer Cleland (ref).


This Boot Camp is part of the Scottish Core Surgical Training Programmes' simulation strategy, developed with the Surgical Simulation Collaborative. Other features of this strategy include monthly themed simulation days with accompanying webinars throught the year, "Incentivised Laparoscopy Practice" using take-home simulators, and then in CT2 a cadaveric course in Glasgow (BASICS). 

The strategy can be found here.               

Scottish Surgical Boot Camps, Clinical Skills Centre, Centre for Health Science, Inverness, IV2 3JH.      Email:
design & program by plexus media