Surgeon

Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would carry out operations on patients who need them. They may be injured, have a worsening health condition, or wish to have plastic surgery.

Patients would be referred to you by other hospital doctors and GPs, or would come to you from an accident and emergency department. They may be anxious and upset, and you would need to calm them down.

This job comes with a lot of responsibility, as your patients would be putting complete trust in you. Your work could help change their lives. Sometimes, you could be helping to save a life. 

You would:

  • Meet the patient before the operation to choose the best option
  • Explain the process and risks
  • Take tests and arrange X-rays
  • Carry out the operation with a team of people such as other surgeons, anaesthetists, technicians and nurses
  • Meet with nurses and junior doctors after the operation
  • Carry out daily ward visits to check on all your patients
  • Write to GPs about your patients’ health and treatments
  • Train and look after junior doctors and other medical staff

You would specialise in one surgical area, such as working with children or trauma patients.

You might sometimes carry out research and publish papers.

There's more information about NHS roles on the Surgery page on the NHS Careers website.

Working conditions

Hours

You would work long hours including nights and weekends, and you would be part of an out-of-hours rota system. European legislation has reduced the number of hours you can do to no more than 48 per week.

Environment

You will spend time in a variety of settings such as consulting rooms, wards, operating theatres and special units like accident and emergency.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Explaining things
  • Taking the lead
  • Caring for people
  • Being tactful
  • Working with your hands
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Coping with pressure
  • Paying attention to detail
  • Making decisions

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You need an honours degree in medicine (SCQF level 10) recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC) and a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) which will allow you to join the GMC Specialist Register.

To enter a medical degree (SCQF level 10) requires National 5 qualifications and at least are five Highers at AAAAB or above, usually achieved at one sitting, Advanced Highers in science subjects are recommended.

You must apply to UCAS by 15 October of the year prior to when the course commences.

Glasgow Kelvin College offers an Access to Medical Studies (SWAP) for adults who do not have the required qualifications.

Perth College and the University of Highlands and Islands offer a Higher National Certificate (SCFQ level 7) Pathways to Medicine course requiring National 5 qualifications and at least one Higher. 

If you have five good Highers but do not have all the science subjects, Dundee University runs a six-year course which includes a pre-medical year (SCQF level 10).

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Chemistry (required by most courses)
  • Biology (required by most courses)
  • Physics (required by most courses)
  • Human biology (required by some courses)
  • English
  • Care
  • Social subjects such as psychology

You will also need

Before applying to medical school you must sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT).

After your degree you do a two-year foundation training programme, which gives you registration with the GMC, which you need to work as a surgeon.

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland

You should be fit and healthy.

You must provide evidence that you do not have, and have been immunised against, Hepatitis B.

Helpful to have

A driving licence.