General Surgery

General surgery is the largest surgical specialty in Ireland.


General surgery covers the specialist interest area of colorectal surgery, upper gastrointestinal surgery, breast and endocrine surgery, and hepatobiliary and transplant surgery.

All specialty surgeons have experience in basic general surgery and take part in the general surgical on-call rota. However, as a general surgeon, you will need to sub-specialise into one of the specialist interest areas.

Core Surgical Training (CST) is a two-year programme undertaken before entering Specialty Training.

CST is the initial stage of surgical training (ST1 - ST2) and is a two-year introduction to the generality of surgery This stage reflects the need for trainee surgeons to achieve competence in a range of surgical knowledge, skills and behaviours, most of which are not specialty-specific.

CST is undertaken by all surgical trainees, irrespective of their future specialty aspirations. During CST trainees work as a senior house officer (SHO) in approved training hospitals under the supervision of approved consultant trainers.

During ST3 and ST4 all trainees will complete one year in gastrointestinal surgery (mixture of upper and lower), six months in vascular surgery and a further six months in either breast, transplant or gastrointestinal surgery. During ST5 and ST6 all trainees will complete one year in gastrointestinal surgery (either upper, lower or a mixture) and one year in their special interest. During ST7 and ST8 trainees will consolidate their training opting, where possible to further develop their special interest. Emergency general surgery training will continue for all trainees throughout the six years. Working within EWTR, rotas in emergency and elective general surgery should aim to give trainees the opportunity to learn continuity of care, judgement, decision making, prioritisation and to see how symptoms, signs and associated pathology develop over time. Trainees may have the opportunity to gain competencies to ST8 level in the general surgery of childhood or in endocrine, advanced trauma or remote and rural surgery.

Core Surgical Training (CST)


CST Requirements:

  • Have completed a Medical Degree
  • Have completed or be in the process of completing an intern year
  • Have evidence of eligibility to register on the Irish Medical Council
  • Have evidence of English Language requirements (where applicable) in line with HSE Guidelines

Higher Specialist Training (HST)


  • Have completed a Medical Degree.
  • Be eligible for inclusion on the Trainee Specialist Division of the Medical Council Register at the time of application.
  • Certificate of Completion of Core Surgical Training - CST is a minimum duration of two years of structured Core or Basic training, post internship.
  • Successful completion of MRCS part A&B/DOHNS Part B
  • For non-Ireland, -UK, -Australia, -Canada, -New Zealand or -US: An IELTS certificate OR the Occupational English Test (OET).