Diploma in Hand Surgery
What is the Hand Diploma?
The Diploma in Hand Surgery is a course of study to build knowledge and confidence for life as a consultant Hand Surgeon. It is aimed at senior trainees and young consultants. The course is run in conjunction with the University of Manchester who ensure the quality of the educational experience and validate the final qualification. This is a qualification that has the confidence of our profession and the public.
What does it involve?
The course covers the length and breadth of hand surgery. It is a great way to structure learning during a fellowship or for continuing professional development. There is a lot of work involved – the equivalent of 1200 educational hours. Not all of this is reading; clinical teaching, tutorials and a range of projects also contribute to the overall commitment.
How does it work?
This is known as a distributed learning programme, which means the syllabus and assessment structure are set by us but the teaching happens where the participating surgeon is based. The subject matter is divided into 8 modules each of them requiring 4 tutorials and having 3 assessments of one type or another. It is a great opportunity to spend plenty of time talking about our favourite surgical subject matter but does need a lot of motivation from the student and the tutors not to mention good organisation.
When can I start and finish?
Registration forms can be sent in at any time in the year and we encourage any Plastic or Orthopaedic Surgery trainee past the end of ST6 who knows they want to be a Hand Surgeon to consider commencing their studies at an early stage. Most candidates spend 13 months on the course, UK university rules require completion be within 5 years. The final examination covers all the topics in the course and is held once a year, each March, in Birmingham. Around a month prior to the exam all coursework must be completed and evidence of that submitted to the course administrator.
Who can sign up?
The minimum requirements include: GMC registration, evidence of structured training and annual appraisal in Plastic or Orthopaedic Surgery, at least 6 months of advanced hand surgery training (post FRCS), and a willing team of supervisor and tutors. Before taking the examination the student also needs to have been successful in the FRCS Orth or Plast. If you are not sure whether you will be eligible have a look in the handbook or email the course administrator.
How much does it cost?
The course fee is £1050. This is heavily subsidized by the BSSH and the fee remains unchanged since the course started in 2007. The fee includes the final exam and one retake if required. It does not include conference or external course fees that would normally be supported through a study leave budget.
What support is available?
Your supervisor will be your main source of support. There are also candidate counsellors, these are committee members who can help with any issues that the supervisor isn’t able to resolve.
Each November there is a course to assist with preparation for the exam. It includes a mock written paper, practice OSCEs and talks on the examination structure. The day is held in Birmingham and is free for Diploma students.
In December the Pulvertaft Hand Centre in Derby run a Booster Day to help complete face to face coursework. This can be tutorials, especially for those harder to access specialist areas like the Child’s Hand, or assessments.
Lastly there is a student representative for the course who coordinates the peer network for the participants and can raise any issues with the committee as appropriate.
Where can I find more information?
Talking to someone already studying or teaching on the programme is often a good way to find out more, if you don’t already know someone who fits the bill contact our course administrator who is always happy to help via firstname.lastname@example.org and you can be put in touch with the student representative or a member of the committee as appropriate.
There are several documents that you might find useful:
Approved Hand Diploma Tutors
What comes after the Diploma?
There is a Masters in Hand Surgery qualification which builds upon the Diploma award. It involves a dissertation with a range of style options but no viva. It is also good value at only an additional £525. Click here for more information.
We also have our own version of an Alumnus Association – the Diplomates Dining Club which meets annually.
Who are approved tutors?
Approved Hand Diploma Tutors