Cookies are disabled so parts of this website may not function correctly, read more about cookies and how to enable them here  

Become a member

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

Find out more

Patient Information

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

Find out more

Become a Neurosurgeon

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

Find out more

How to become a Neurosurgeon in the UK pdf_icon.gif  (This document was updated Jan 2021)

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 3 phases 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 or Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, 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 the GMC using the CESR (Certificate for Eligibility for Specialist Registration) route.
  10. Doctors  from some countries may have a Relevant European Qualification that permits direct access to the specialist register - please see the The General Medical Council (GMC)website  for the details on this.
  11. 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 Joint Committee on Intercollegiate Examinations (JCIE)

webpage_icon.gif Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP)

Last Updated: 1 December 2023