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General surgery

General surgeons employ a wide range of knowledge and skills to perform surgery, often in emergency situations. There is frequently an emphasis on acute abdominal problems.

Training and qualifications required

You’ll need to follow a set pattern of training which usually starts with a five year first degree in medicine and two years of foundation training. You will then undertake two years of core training (CT1–2), followed by 5 years of specialist training (ST3-7). This period of training will include completing your royal college exams.The length of training can vary according to your circumstances.

Expected working hours and salary range

Working hours should not exceed 48 hours a week. The working hours may sometimes extend beyond the normal working day to include early mornings, evenings and weekends. On call highly likely. Pay scales (2017): Consultants earn between £76,761 and £103,490.

Desirable skills and values

You'll need good organisational, communication and decision-making skills. You'll also need good hand-eye co-ordination, manual dexterity and visuo-spatial awareness. You'll also need the ability to work under pressure and to adapt to changing circumstances. It's also important that you can work well in a team and are able to stay calm and support your team in difficult circumstances. You'll also need to be a good leader with the physical stamina to cope with the demands of surgery.

Prospects

There are 2,237 consultants in general surgery in England in 2016. Opportunities exist for research and teaching.
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