Medicine in Wales has a long tradition of first-class urological training which is reflected in the training opportunities currently available and excellent pass rates in the FRCS (Urol) examination.
The Wales Deanery administers training in South Wales through centres located along the M4 corridor.
Please note that training in North Wales is NOT administered by the Wales Deanery, but is incorporated into the Mersey Deanery (the West Sector of the North West School of Surgery).
If you require further information email Adnan Ahmad (BSoT rep for this region)
All the training units provide core urology training with subspecialty training in selective centres. All hospitals are within an hour’s commute of Cardiff except Glangwili Hospital, in West Wales, which is 75 minutes away. Most trainees choose to settle in either Cardiff or Swansea, and seldom need to move during the course of their training.
The individual training units are:
The Training Programme Director for Wales is Mr Shibendra Datta, based in the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. If you wish to contact the TPD, please click here to send an email
There are currently 19 trainees in the region.
All administrative paperwork is during your ST3 year and is managed centrally by Health Education Improvement Wales (HEIW) which will handle your pay and transition to other health boards without the need to complete the same paperwork numerous times. All NHS parking in Wales is free.
There are five health boards extending across South Wales which, between them, offer all the major subspecialties, including two paediatric centres, three major oncology units, and two specialist andrology centres (one tertiary offering both benign and malignant andrology).
There is a Da Vinci robot with a teaching console in Cardiff where visiting surgeons & trainees from Swansea and Newport can also use its facilities. Recently the Welsh Government has signed-off on a scheme which involves having a robot in every hospital along the M4 corridor. This will be in place soon, and will allow significantly more trainees to enjoy exposure to robotic techniques.
With the change in curriculum, Phase 2 involves achieving core competencies. This will be easily achieved either in a DGH or tertiary centre with excellent exposure to all aspects of urology. Wales offers most subspeciality Phase 3 training options which can be tailored to the trainees' needs. Uro-oncology is particularly strong, with three centres offering great exposure to cystectomies and upper tract oncology. RPLNDs and nephrectomies with IVC involvement are centralised and undertaken in Cardiff.
The region provides laparoscopic dry lab training on an annual basis, through one of the dry lab courses accredited by the BAUS Section of Endourology; the courses take place at the Welsh Institute for Minimal Access Therapy (WIMAT) in Cardiff.
We also have an annual two-day cadaveric emergency urology course in Cardiff, run for our senior trainees, which has been exceptionally well received.
There is one day per month of compulsory, protected, urology teaching, which takes place on the second Friday of each month.
The sessions follow a rolling timetable, with topics chosen to reflect the new urology curriculum and to prepare trainees for the FRCS Urol examination. They are organised by two local Consultants and incorporate guest lectures, journal reviews, debates, vivas and MCQs.
The venue is usually the hospital with the Consultants organising it.
To help trainees prepare for - and achieve - high pass rates in the FRCS (Urol) examination, the region provides a structured programme to assist with exam preparation. Each year all SpRs undertake:
- an annual viva day in May,where trainees undertake a formal mock FRCS Urol viva day, with stations covering the exam topics manned by Consultant colleagues in the region, and marking in-line with the exam scheme; and
- individual and group viva sessions (usually 10 - 20 hours with TPD / Consultant colleagues in the region), prior to the exam, focusing on viva technique.
Trainees are expected to attend the Welsh Urological Society meetings (see below), the BAUS Section of Oncology Annual Meeting and the BAUS Annual Scientific Meeting, to complement local teaching. Trainees are also encouraged to attend BAUS-organised educational courses and revision sessions throughout their rotation.
Trainee satisfaction is excellent, and there has been little difficulty obtaining indicative numbers and levels of competency ready for CCT in the previous curriculum. The most recent trainees have successfully, and seamlessly, taken up Consultant posts in the region without the need for fellowships, highlighting the level of training received, aided by the high quality of mentoring provided when in post as a junior Consultant.
Research and Audit
Cardiff and Swansea have well-developed clinical and academic research programmes. Research posts are available in both units, allowing trainees to undertake a period of formal research leading to a higher degree. This can either be self-organised with candidates taking time out-of-programme to complete an MD in clinical or laboratory-based research.
Alternatively, you can become a fully fledged academic trainee through a successful application to the Wales Clinical Academic Track (WCAT) which offers a fully-funded PhD plus a trainee number in the region, with protected academic time throughout your training. The WCAT is a separate application via Oriel which is open to trainees from all specialities. We currently have one WCAT trainee who has completed a PhD and is finishing higher training, and another who has finished training and has been appointed to a Consultant post within the region.
The region also has strong links with overseas units in Belgium, Australia & America. As a result, senior trainees are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.
The Welsh Urological Society
The Welsh Urological Society holds one meeting each year in January at The Metropole Hotel, in Llandrindod Wells in Mid Wales. The Society includes Consultants, trainees of all grades and Urology Specialist Nurses working in Wales.
Meetings usually involve a half-day of professional development, poster presentation, registrar and nurse led sessions as well as lectures from guest speakers.
The other half-day is devoted to presentation of research topics, with a prize being awarded for the best presentation.
The Bottom Line
Wales provides an excellent structured training programme within a compact region. We have a great track-record for FRCS Urol pass rates, and excellent mentors who wish to nurture the future generation of Consultants.
It is approximately 1¼ hours drive between the two most distant hospitals, so living in between these sites offers an easily manageable commute.
Wales has much to offer, with the roaring culture of Cardiff, picturesque beaches on the Gower peninsula, great walks in the Black Mountains or Brecon Beacons, and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
The compact nature of the region means that you can stand on top of a mountain in the morning, explore a historic garden or castle in the afternoon, and stand on a sandy beach to watch a stunning coastal sunset in the evening. As a result, many of our trainees take up Consultant posts and spend the rest of their lives in Wales.
Click here to see contacts, hospitals and administrative information for this region
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