Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery involves managing patients with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. An orthopaedic surgeon will operate on patients in need of surgical treatment for conditions such as fractures or degenerative joint conditions.
The Royal Society of Medicine offers a range of events for different surgical specialties, including Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery – see a full list on our Events page>>
Entry Route into Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery
Applicants must have completed the two-year Foundation Programme before they are eligible to apply for training in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery. There is a choice of two pathways:
Run-through training (ST1-7), incorporating both core training and higher speciality training.
Core Surgical Training takes two years to complete and covers a variety of surgical specialties. Trainees must complete the MRCS examinations during the first two years of training. They also need to have completed at least 10-12 months of training in trauma and orthopaedic surgery. After completing Core Surgical Training applicants need to apply for ST3 posts in order to progress.
Job Progression as a Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon
Higher speciality training in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery takes at least six years to complete. Before trainees can their CCT, they must pass the intercollege speciality examination for FRCS accreditation.
Sub-specialties in trauma and orthopaedic surgery include
complex trauma surgery,
sports injury surgery,
paediatric surgery, and
There are opportunities to work in management as a clinical lead, or a clinical or medical director. There are also formal opportunities to become involved in the education and training of junior doctors by working as
a director of medical education overseeing postgraduate medical training,
a training programme director responsible for the education of trainee doctors in the local region, or
an associate dean responsible for managing the training programme.
Academic Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery Roles
Trainees interested in an academic career can apply for an academic clinical fellowship. Alternatively, trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level.
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 2.2, with 378 applications for 172 posts. The competition ratio for Core Surgical Training was 2.56, with 1,608 applications for 629 posts.
In December 2017, there were
178 associate specialists,
386 speciality doctors,
33 staff grades,
1,693 speciality registrars,
564 core trainees,
468 F2 trainees, and
295 F1 trainees.
Salaries in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery
The starting salary for junior doctors in England ranges from £26,614 to £46,208, and from £37,923 to £87,521 for speciality doctors. Consultants can expect to earn between £76,761 and £103,490. There are additional supplements for on-call work, antisocial hours, and other commitments. For additional information, please check our page on pay scales.
A Day in the Life of an Orthopaedic Surgeon
An orthopaedic surgeon is part of the emergency trauma team, however, some may focus on elective surgery, whilst others focus on emergency work. A typical working week may include around three operating sessions, in addition to the monitoring of patients pre- and post-operatively, and reviewing patients in emergency departments, inpatient wards, and outpatient clinics. On-call schedules vary depending on the size of the department, but may be around one-in-six.