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Become a member

To apply for SBNS membership click the link below and visit our application page.

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Patient Information

SBNS is unable to give medical advice or recommend neurosurgeons. Please use an appropriate support group or your GP.

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Become a Neurosurgeon

The management of neurosurgical patients requires excellent medical and surgical skills, a career in Neurosurgery offers many challenges and rewards.

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The management of neurosurgical patients requires excellent medical and surgical skills and a career in Neurosurgery offers many challenges and rewards. To train in neurosurgery in the UK the usual route is:

  1. Medical degree leading to provisional then full registration with the General Medical Council
  2. Some doctors from abroad may have to take the PLAB test prior to registering with the General Medical Council
  3. 2 years of foundation jobs will then be undertaken.  These may be four or six month jobs and are designed to provide general all-round medical and surgical experience.
  4. Application for neurosurgical training posts can then be made.  All neurosurgical jobs in the UK are appointed centrally once a year.  A separate central appointment process occurs in Ireland.  The process takes place annually early in the year, hosted by the Yorkshire Deanery.
  5. The MRCS examination is usually taken two to three years after full registration
  6. Neurosurgical trainees progress through 8 stages of training (ST1 - ST8).  This usually takes 8 years.  The neurosurgical curriculum and more detail may be found on the ISCP website
  7. The specialty board examination in neurosurgery is usually taken after completing ST6.
  8. After completing training and passing the examination the specialist advisory committee will consider whether a trainee is competent to complete training.   A recommendation is made via the JCST to the GMC, and if a trainee is deemed competent, he or she will be placed on the specialist register and allowed to apply for a consultant job.
  9. Alternatively doctors who can show that they have completed similar training schemes and achieved the same competencies may apply to be placed on the specialist register directly to PMETB using the CESR (Certificate for Eligibility for Specialist Registration) route.
  10. Consultants are expected to continue developing their professional skills throughout their working lives.

Useful information may also be obtained from:


webpage_icon.gif The General Medical Council (GMC)
webpage_icon.gif Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST)
webpage_icon.gif Modernising Medical Careers (MMC)
webpage_icon.gif Intercollegiate Specialty Examination Board
webpage_icon.gif Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme

Last Updated: 23 February 2017