Workforce, training and education
East of England

Cardiothoracic Surgery in the East of England

The specialty of cardiothoracic surgery encompasses those conditions affecting:-

  • The heart and intrathoracic great vessels 
  • The lungs and trachea 
  • The oesophagus 
  • Other mediastinal structures 
  • The chest wall

The practice of cardiothoracic surgery includes the diagnosis, pre-operative care and assessment, operative treatment and post operative care of patients affected by the above conditions.

Training Programme

Royal Papworth Hospital is the regional cardiothoracic centre and is also the national centre for cardiac and cardio-pulmonary transplantation. The predominant proportion of the six-year training is based at Royal Papworth Hospital, for adult cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery and transplantation. There are attachments at Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital for thoracic surgery. Research and overseas experience can be included in the programme as Out of Programme periods.

Royal Papworth Hospital caters for a regional population of 3.4 million, with five operating theatres and 80 surgical beds. The 13 consultant cardiac and 3 consultant thoracic surgeons. Each have specialist areas of interest but between them perform approximately 2,100 cardiac operations, 600 thoracic operations, 140 pulmonary endarterectomise, 100 cardiac/cardiopulmonary transplants and 300 other minor procedures per annum. Papworth Hospital is one of six centres in the UK designated for cardiothoracic transplants & mechanical ventricular assist devices, and the sole centre that performs pulmonary endarterectomies.

At Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, 4 consultant thoracic surgeons perform the full range of general thoracic surgery. There is experience of trauma referred from A & E. Around 1,200 thoracic procedures and 350 day case endoscopies are performed each year.

Trainees will gain experience across the full range of cardiothoracic surgery with excellent practical training and support towards competence in this specialty.

In the first three years of training, trainees will rotate through 18 months of cardiac surgery, 12 months of thoracic surgery and 6 months of cardiothoracic transplantation. After this trainees will declare interest in either thoracic or cardiac surgery for the remainder of their training

In senior years, cardiac trainees will be provided ample training in emergency cardiothoracic surgery to ensure preparedness for consultant practice

There is a monthly programme of regional teaching mapped to the curriculum which includes wetlab simulation and human cadaveric training.

Trainees in Cardiothoracic surgery attend two courses each year of training organised through the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgery - details can be found: 

There is opportunity to undertake deanery funded training in management and leadership on the 'Senior Resident' training course, and in medical education leading to a Post Graduate Certificate in Medical Education



Recruitment into cardiothoracic surgery is by national recruitment which is organised through Wessex deanery. Recruitment opens around November with interviews in February/March each year.

There are currently two entry points into cardiothoracic surgery: ST1 and ST3

A range of useful information and essential resources for prospective trainees can be found at:


Requirements for Entry

  • Demonstrate significant commitment to cardiothoracic surgery
  • Have acquired stage appropriate operative experience
  • Well rounded CV with experience demonstrated in teaching, research, audit, presentations and publications


Suggestions for gaining further information/experience


If you would like to arrange a taster in cardiothoracic surgery please get in touch


Further Advice

Further advice may be obtained from:

Chairman of the Specialty Training Committee: Mr. S Tsui, Papworth Hospital NHS Trust

Training Programme Director: Mr. Ravi De Silva, Papworth Hospital NHS Trust

Associate Dean: Dr J Waller, East of England Deanery

Current trainee: Mr Jason Ali - 


Last updated August 2021

Monday, 16 September, 2019
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Monday, 16 September, 2019