Mr Paul Cathcart
Consultant Urological Surgeon, formerly at University College London Hospital, now at Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
"I completed my specialist urological training in the South Wales region, having been a core trainee and research fellow in the London region. Prior to starting in South Wales, I had very little knowledge of the region, in terms of the local geography or the working environment. However, having worked for 4 years throughout South Wales, I can thoroughly recommend the region to any would-be urological trainee.
"Urological training in South Wales is of the highest quality. As there are relatively few trainees, there are more training opportunities. For example, over a four-year period, I performed more than 400 endoscopic procedures including over 150 transurethral prostate resections (TURP), 80 laparoscopic renal procedures and more than 200 major open cancer operations. At each stage of my training, my trainers were extremely supportive, taking me through the nuances of each different procedure. There was a wide breadth of urological subspecialities in which to train and I was given considerable flexibility to enable me to tailor my training to my chosen subspeciality, urological oncology.
"There is a well-developed teaching programme within the region. Trainers are very much engaged in the training process and this has enabled the region to boast a very high pass rate in the FRSC Urol final examination. Research was also encouraged for those trainees that demonstrated an interest in this area. Professor Kynaston, lead urological surgeon at University Hospital Wales, and member of the faculty at Cardiff University, has a mature programme of exciting work in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer invasion and metastasis, which has provided considerable opportunity for urological trainees to develop their interest in research, as well as to attain higher degrees. Thanks to a network of links between urological units in South Wales and Australia/New Zealand, a number of opportunities exist for trainees to go on fellowships abroad. Personally, I benefited from having spent one year in a prestigious fellowship under the guidance of Professor Tony Costello in Melbourne, Australia.
"Overall, the urological training in South Wales is of the highest quality, providing an excellent basis on which to enter Consultant practice. The trainers are extremely welcoming and I would recommend the region to any would-be urological trainee."
Mr Herman Fernando
Consultant Urological Surgeon, University Hospital North Midlands, Stoke on Trent
"I was a Clinical Research Fellow for Professor Howard Kynaston & Professor Wen Jiang in the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, between 2006 and 2008.
"With a very limited research background, and limited clinical experience (as an SHO), I was nervous about taking this competitive post. However, all my predecessors were successful in their research, and had secured numbers in the South Wales rotation. The research team were immensely supportive to mne throughout this period and, by the end of it, I had completed my research and submitted my thesis.
"I was sponsored by the department to go to the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting to present my work. On the publications front, I had put my work in to a few journals including the Journal of Urology. I set up the Radical Prostatectomy and Early Prostate Cancer databases during my stay. On the clinical front, although a research fellow, I was given four clinical sessions to work with Mr Owen Hughes & Professor Kynaston. Towards the second half, to accommodate my training needs (in a non-training post), I was provided with a day-case list to develop my endoscopic skills to the level of a ST3, directly under Consultant supervision. At the end of stay, my CV had improved so much so that I was short-listed and interviewed in four deaneries. It is important to re-iterate that this happened purely because of the support and constant guidance provided by all the Consultants and SpRs at that time.
"When I started my ST rotation, the clinical experience I gained was of such great help that I could confidently handle the day-to-day out-of-hours emergencies without the need to call the Consultant in. The South Wales rotation is a closely knit unit and everyone gets to know you in the first few months. I looked forward to the Welsh Urological Society meetings which provides a good platform to keep colleagues updated with your research work/clinical databases, as well as providing an opportunity for networking. I have attended every BAUS Welsh Urology Dinner since I left Cardiff and ithese events are a great time to catch up with the people who were my mentors and SpRs.
"I am proud to have spent an important part of my Urology training career in UHW, Cardiff."