24 doctors trained during 1st UK course with Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh

For the first time in partnership with Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), we delivered a Hostile Environment Surgical Training UK (HEST-UK) course to equip 24 surgeons from across the globe with vital skills needed to save lives in conflict and disaster zones.

Aimed at medical professionals who work in, or are planning to travel to, conflict and catastrophe zones around the world, our HEST-UK course brought together surgeons from across the globe, including Australia, Poland, Finland, Denmark, Libya and six from Ukraine, for a transformative week of intensive training.

This marks the beginning of our brand-new partnership with RCSEd, joining forces to upskill humanitarian surgeons and frontline trainers in the making. Our course combined trauma case presentations taken straight from war zones like in Syria, our cutting-edge teaching models designed especially for our use, and human cadavers.

Dr Igor Belkin, HEST-UK participant and surgeon from Ukraine who we sponsored to join our training, said:

“The course was great! All frontline methods were described in detail in theory, and then with the help of DNF trainers, we then worked on and learned more about using cadavers.

These skills are always useful, especially in a country that is at war. After completing another DNF course in Zaporizhizhia in February 2023, I used many learnings in field surgery. Now in Edinburgh, I got even more practice with cadavers.”

Dr Senka Stojanovic, HEST-UK participant and general surgeon from Poland, said:

“Now, possibly more than ever during our lifetimes, the world is fraught with problems of growing divisions and inequality, which among other things impacts access to quality healthcare, affecting not only the current generation, but future ones as well.

I felt incredibly fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the leading experts in the field.

The wealth of experience and practical tips brought by the faculty was unmatched and cannot be found in textbooks or surgical atlases.

I highly recommend this unique course to any surgeons who plan to or already work in humanitarian settings around the globe, but who need to build on their confidence and skill to provide surgical care outside of their surgical specialties.”

Mariette Naud-Betteridge, Director of Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement at RCSEd, said:

“Witnessing the course first-hand revealed the extensive practice and diverse disciplines required to deliver surgical care in conflict zones. Not only did the course’s structure and the dedication of David and his faculty bring challenging cases to life, the delegates’ intense focus and eagerness to learn emphasised the course’s relevance and necessity.

Collaboration between the David Nott Foundation and RCSEd demonstrates our  shared commitment to equipping medical professionals with the critical skills and confidence needed to save lives in the most demanding situations. Special thanks also to all who supported the course, including sponsors B. Braun, Essity, and Stryker. RCSEd look forward to welcoming back the DNF team and a new set of delegates in December for the next HEST-UK Course.”

As fighting intensifies across Ukraine, Palestine, Sudan and beyond, there has never been a greater need for skilled, humanitarian surgeons around the world. That’s why our programme of bespoke training courses are so vital and we will continue to grow our international network of war doctors.

Sign up to our next HEST-UK course