Shropshire hospital's surgeon training programme recognised as registrar wins medal

The training programme for future orthopaedic surgeons at a Shropshire hospital has been recognised for its “sterling track record” as its fifth registrar in as many years has won a prestigious medal for gaining the highest marks out of all trainees across the UK.

Left, Rob Banerjee, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and training programme director and right, Ashley Brown, lower limb arthroplasty specialist trainee
Left, Rob Banerjee, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and training programme director and right, Ashley Brown, lower limb arthroplasty specialist trainee

Ashley Brown, lower limb arthroplasty specialist trainee, has been awarded the Sir Walter Mercer Medal for placing first in all sittings of the trauma and orthopaedic fellowship exam in 2020.

This is the highest award that can be won for the exam.

He is the latest trainee, under the Oswestry/Stoke rotation, to be awarded a medal, following in the footsteps of Prassad Rao, who won the Roland Jones Medal in 2019; Kevin Syam, who won the Joint Surgical Colleges Medal in 2019; Rohit Singh, who won the in-training Gold Medal in 2017; and Anuj Jaiswal, who was awarded the Arthur Edward Burton Memorial Prize for part one of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), back in 2015.

Mr Brown, who is in his last year of training, says his success “speaks volumes” about The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital’s training programme.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be the latest Oswestry/Stoke trainee to win the FRCS Orth medal.

"Being the fifth prize winner in as many years is a true testament to all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes from the trainers, who are senior consultants at the trust and across the region including Stoke, Shrewsbury, Telford, Worcester, Dudley, Hereford, Wrexham and Bangor. I mean the sterling track record really speaks for itself.

“I consider myself to be extremely privileged to be on the Oswestry/Stoke training rotation with RJAH at its centre.

"The hospital is an internationally renowned centre of excellence and I truly believe the investment of time into its future surgeons absolutely contributes to that.

Pressure

“Despite the added pressure Covid has placed on the NHS, the team of consultants who facilitate the training programme have worked absolutely tirelessly to ensure the quality of learning and support remains high for the current trainees across the whole region."

The FRCS Orth exam is taken by senior registrars prior to becoming a consultant orthopaedic surgeon. It is a gruelling exam requiring knowledge of a vast range of topics and skills in examining and assessing patients.

It covers the entire trauma and orthopaedic curriculum, including both children’s and adult orthopaedics, and both trauma and elective conditions and procedures. The exam consists of two sections held several months apart.

Section one is a written test, while section two is the clinical component of the exam, involving assessing patients and oral interviews with a series of examiners over a two-day period.

With six months remaining of his training, Mr Brown is looking ahead as he has been awarded a place onto the lower limb arthroplasty fellowship programme at Holland Orthopaedic Centre in Toronto, starting in August for a year.

When he returns to the UK in 2022, he will start looking to apply for consultant posts.

Rob Banerjee, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and training programme director, added: “Huge congratulations to Ashley on being awarded the Sir Walter Mercer Medal for gaining the highest set of marks out of all Orthopaedic trainees across the country.

“It’s a truly outstanding achievement and demonstrates his tremendous hard work and dedication.

“It’s also pleasing that he’s our fifth registrar consecutively to have their hard work rewarded with a prize from the Royal College of Surgeons.

"This has never been done before by one training rotation, which is a superb achievement and we feel reflects the hard work that goes into the programme from the team delivering it, as well as our trainees.”

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