Surgical Care Practitioner Programmes

As part of the NHS modernisation agenda a range of medically and non-medically qualified practitioner roles were developed, including surgical care practitioners. Assistants in surgical practice have been a part of the NHS since 1989 and have developed as extended roles for nurses and operating department practitioners demonstrating their value in the surgical environment.

As the role of the SCP emerged in practice, the need to ensure that consistent and appropriate standards in training were maintained became evident. The College led a steering group that was established to develop a National Curriculum Framework for the developing role of surgical care practitioner. Following a period of public consultation led by the Department of Health in 2005, the curriculum framework was finalised and published in April 2006 and represents the definitive statement of the requirements (including national standards for competence in theoretical and clinical skills) for Surgical Care Practitioner training to be provided by Universities, Higher Education Institutions and Trusts in the UK.

SCPs are non-medical practitioners such as nurses, operating department practitioners or physiotherapists who have extended the scope of their training to work as members of surgical teams. They can perform surgical intervention and pre-operative and post-operative care under the supervision and direction of a consultant, although not independently. They undergo a two year part-time clinically based course at a Higher Education Institution.

Higher Education Institutions may seek accreditation from The Royal College of Surgeons of England for programmes of study for surgical care practitioner courses. The accreditation process includes a review of all the programme documents and materials and the likelihood of a panel visit.

For further information please review the Guidance/FAQs pages.

Benefits of SCP Programme Accreditation


Having a programme accredited will demonstrate that the programme meets the standards as defined by the Royal College of Surgeons, and that it offers a high-quality learning experience. Recognition of these factors may assist in attracting students. Accredited programmes will also receive the following benefits:

  • Peer review from a panel of leading surgeons
  • Use of the RCS Logo on programme materials and website
  • Use of the strap line 'Accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons of England'
  • Listing on the RCS Website
  • Listing in RCS Bulletin
  • Use of RCS online participant evaluation, SCOPE

Apply now

Please note that the College does not review applications retrospectively and that any application should be made for a future event.

In order to apply for your activity to be accredited for the purposes of Surgical Care Practitioner Programmes, please select the link below:

Apply for Surgical Care Practitioner Programme