Competition in colorectal surgery

Jonathan Ford

New Member
Please forgive the "spoon feed me" nature of this post, but I was hoping someone significantly higher up the food chain than myself might be able to shed some light on competition in colorectal surgery, particularly in Trent/West Midlands/South Yorkshire. You see, I'm knocking on a bit (I'll be just shy of 40 when/if I qualify), and want to temper rampant ambition with a healthy dose of pragmatism.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Dr Noodle

New Member
You know when people wear stoma bags- is a hole specially formed for that and is that done by the colorectal surgeon?

Emptying those things has to be the worst part of a care assistant's job. The smell...phwoar.


New Member
Competition for General Surgery (inc. colorectal) is high in all regions. You will have to excel at med school, obtain competitive foundation jobs, obtain an ST post for surgical training (probably the hardest part) and pass the membership exams early and well.

Traditionally most general surgeons have done a period of research (normally on MD) during their training. But with the changes in MMC I do not know if this will be the case in the future.

Frank E

I don't think it's the bum deal in medical careers people think it is. Patients with UC, Chrons, colorectal tumours, Condyloma Acuminatae hopefully wouldn't see their Surgeon as being someone who decided on that speciality because it's an easy choice. It'll be as competitive as other fields. If any speciality is an easy choice it would be competitive due to many applicants wanting an easy career.
I expect it would need a different set of chirurgical skills from other areas due to the restricted access to the colon.
I guess if a Doctor has had relatives or friends affected by colorectal disease that may be a factor in them choosing such a career.


New Member
Brilliant and very competitive.

You need to finish med school and foundation jobs, win a core surgical training post, entry to higher surgical training, then get a consultant job.

Competition ratios are available online - search for "Core Surgical Training" or "Higher Surgical Training" and the deaneries you are interested in, e.g. Yorkshire and Humber, West Midlands.

Nationally ratios are ~6:1 for core training then 20:1 for higher surgical training. There are too many higher surgical trainees for the number of consultant posts.

Becoming a surgeon is a hard slog for anyone but should not be harder because you are older. You will just need to work hard (e.g. grades, publications, prizes, etc) along with everyone else.

General surgery is split into sub-specialties, i.e. upper GI, lower GI (colorectal), breast/endocrine, vascular. They all have their pros and cons. GI surgeons tend to get most of the emergency work (e.g. appendicitis, perforated bowel, abdominal trauma as well as their elective operating which is mostly cancer work). Colorectal surgeons deal with some anal conditions (anal cancer, haemorrhoids, fistulas, fissures, etc) but this is not their only pastime by any means!