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University of Bristol student wins national surgery competition

Chris Barr competing in the final

(L-R)Chris with RCSEd President Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones

21 February 2017

Scalpels were drawn in the national surgical skills competition run by Britain's oldest Royal Surgical College.

29-year-old Bristolian and University of Bristol student Christopher Barr took the prize, after a gruelling series of tests designed to push the finalist's skills to the maximum. 

Run by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in association with Medtronic, the competition is now in its third year.

Christopher said: “It is really fantastic and quite unexpected for me to have won the UK-wide Surgical Skills Competition! I have always been set on a career in surgery, so taking part in this competition was something I thought would be good to have on my CV to demonstrate my commitment to a surgical career.” 

He will have the opportunity to visit the ORSI Academy - a centre for surgical innovation in Ghent, Belgium - to observe live robotic surgery and practice on robotic simulators.

Christopher added: “I’m really looking forward to going away to Ghent with the winning prize, especially the opportunity to experience and explore what minimal invasive surgery is going to be about in the future.

“Overall I just really enjoyed the competition, the heats were challenging and testing, but at the same time really great fun so I’d definitely recommend to any undergraduates thinking of doing surgery as a career to do the competition, if it’s available again.”

The competition consisted of 19 regional rounds across the UK during which the students were asked to undertake a series of demanding surgical skills tests.

With only eight per cent of medical undergraduates qualifying as surgeons in one of the ten specialties, surgery is an incredibly competitive area, so being able to demonstrate the commitment and the skills to become a surgeon at this early stage puts students at a great advantage later in their career.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh President Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones said: "It has been rewarding through this competition to witness the talents of senior medical students, across all four nations, and to be able to provide an opportunity for this next generation of aspiring surgeons to showcase their surgical skills and network with each other and established surgeons at our Royal College.

“RCSEd is committed to fostering relationships with the undergraduate medical schools in the UK and this competition provides an excellent platform.”

Further information

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505, and is one of the oldest surgical corporations in the world with a membership of over 23,000 professionals in over 100 countries worldwide. 

The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through its interest in education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce. It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation.

Find the RCSEd on Twitter and Facebook.


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