Britain's oldest surgical college awards place to Sheffield student

Scalpels were drawn in an interactive, one-of-a-kind, national surgical skills competition run by Britain's oldest Royal Surgical college with the announcement of the winner of the Yorkshire round.

Friday, 23rd December 2016, 8:50 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:03 pm

Alexandra Yates from the University of Sheffield, was a cut above the rest in the penultimate regional round, run by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh ( in association with Medtronic (, a global leader in medical technology, services and solutions.

The ground-breaking competition sees final year medical students from across the UK demonstrate their talents and skills in a series of challenges. The competition begins with 19 rounds, one at each UK medical school, during which the students are asked to undertake a series of demanding surgical skills tests, with the winner of each heat announced on the night.

With only 8% of medical undergraduates qualifying as surgeons in one of the ten specialities, 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.

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22 year old Alexandra said: “ I am delighted to have qualified for the final. This achievement is a great impetus for me to continue my pursuit of a surgical career, and it is highly rewarding to receive feedback that I have demonstrated an aptitude for some of the skills that are central to the field. “

Along with a certificate and a trophy, Alexandra was awarded a travel and accommodation package to compete in the Grand Final in Edinburgh on 18th February at which the top 19 finalists from across the UK will undertake a broad range of clinical procedures before determining who has the scalpel skills to become the overall UK winner, presented at the Grand Final with prizes including a fully inclusive Medtronic Minimal Invasive Robotic Experience

Convened by College council member Mr Roger Currie, a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in Ayrshire, the competition is now in its third year and aims to discover the most talented aspiring surgeons in the UK.

“The surgical skills competition is a unique opportunity for medical students with an interest in surgery to practice their skills and demonstrate their expertise” said Roger, “We hope that it will inspire the next generation of surgeons and place them in a unique position for their future career.”

As well as prizes being awarded to the winner and runner-up, all participants of the competition will receive a certificate of participation, plus two year’s affiliation to the RCSEd’s Affiliate Network.

Second place was awarded to 23-year-old Leeds student Lucy Scott:

“Overall, the experience was enjoyable. The mixture of different stations kept the morning interesting, and laparoscopy was fun to do, as I have never tried it before. It was very well organised, and all the facilitators were friendly and enthusiastic for teaching.”

“One of the major aims of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is to set and quality assure the highest surgical standards and recognise that with the award of Membership and Fellowship,” said Mr Michael Lavelle-Jones, colorectal surgeon and President of the RCSEd. “This competition is a shining example of ensuring that those standards are constantly being challenged and updated, with students benefitting from the networking opportunities it brings. RCSEd is very keen to engage with the undergraduate medical schools in the UK and this competition provides an excellent platform. We are most grateful to Medtronic for their collaboration to make this competition possible.”