Vascular Surgery

Training pathway

The training pathway to becoming a vascular surgeon in Ireland commences at Core Surgical Training (CST) in ST1 and completes at Specialty Training, ending at ST8.

Within these eight years of training, you will undergo CST in ST1 and ST2 – core training is undertaken by all surgical trainees, irrespective of their future specialty aspiration, and aims to introduce all trainees to the principles of surgery in general and give them the knowledge, skills and attitudes required in preparation for specialty training (ST3 - ST8).

Throughout these initial two years, you will be assessed via the Competency Assessment and Performance Appraisal (CAPA) process.

Entry to ST3 is based on ongoing CAPA at CST level, successful completion of the Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (MRCS) exam and a specialty interview. ST3 is entry-level into (higher) Specialty Training which completes at ST8.

All Specialty Training programmes have a defined curriculum that you will need to complete. Bi-annual assessments, training courses, wet labs and modalities such as the Intercollegiate Surgical Training Programme (ISCP) are used to track progression throughout ST3 - ST7. Successful completion of the FRCS exam is required in order to achieve a Certificate of Completion of Surgical Training (CCST) at the end of training, which deems you eligible for registration with the Irish Medical Council.

The purpose of this curriculum is to train vascular surgeons up to Certificate of Completion of Training (CCST) level to work independently and to the standard of a consultant or equivalent.

As such, most of your skills as a vascular surgeon will relate to the management of 'everyday' vascular elective and emergency surgery, and this forms the basis of the curriculum, with the competencies, both non-operative and operative, being completed by the final year of training.

The curriculum also allows a degree of flexibility to respond to the changing needs of our patients and the development of new models of healthcare delivery – incorporating technological advances, particularly in the endovascular field.

The syllabus includes elective and emergency vascular surgery topics which you will need to complete to enable you to manage the conditions listed in the Scope and Standards of Vascular Surgical Practice key topics. The syllabus also includes specific competencies in elective and emergency gastrointestinal surgery to complement the management of intra-abdominal vascular conditions. These are normally obtained during one indicative year of upper and lower gastrointestinal surgery, undertaken during intermediate training in ST3/ST4.

Some complex vascular and endovascular procedures are performed in only a few specialised centres and therefore do not require every trainee to reach a stage of full competence by the time of CCT. Trainees wishing to work in such centres should seek further experience and mentorship after CCT, although all trainees will be expected to have knowledge of these procedures so that they can initiate an appropriate referral to a specialist centre.

More information on the curriculum is available on Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP) website.