The David Nott Foundation’s world-leading faculty deploys several times each year to conflict and disaster areas to train local surgeons with its Hostile Environment Surgical Training (HEST) course, targeted at surgeons and doctors to improve their skills in emergency trauma surgery. The settings where HEST is taught often rule out cadaveric teaching so a combination of lectures, videos and discussions with practical exercises including the suturing of prosthetic organs and blood vessels and demonstrations on a bespoke simulator model, is used instead.

Although each course is tailored to the needs and experience of the audience, the normal topics covered over the four days are:

  • Ballistics
  • Primary and secondary survey
  • Damage control
  • Cardio-thoracic trauma
  • Vascular surgery
  • Head and neck trauma
  • Paediatric surgery
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Plastic surgery
  • Trauma in obstetrics and gynaecology

The HEST course is accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

To enquire about the Faculty delivering the HEST course near you, or to propose a location for training, please email [email protected]


[etcodes_carousel images="3063,3065,3073,3060,3075,3062,3064,3074,3080,3076,2599,3078,2600,2561,2562,2563,2598,2565,2566,2567,2568,2560,2553,3081,3077,2559,2558,2557,2556,2554,2552"]

Our second mission for Palestine: Empowering medical heroes

In the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, tens of thousands have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands are now displaced. Hundreds […]

Anaesthesia course in Moldova addresses healthcare challenges amidst Ukraine crisis

In the wake of the escalating conflict in Ukraine, Moldova, a neighbouring country, is grappling with the concern of being […]

Surgeons and anaesthetists rapidly trained to treat trauma injuries in Gaza

During a remarkable four-day Hostile Environment Surgical Training (HEST) course, surgeons and anaesthetists from the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and […]

80 surgeons and anaesthetists upskilled in Kyiv, Ukraine

Our new Chief Operating Officer, Tim Law, recently returned from his first mission. Tim supported our trainers to deliver two […]

Dr Esayas Mustefa – Becoming the calm in any storm

Dr Esayas Mustefa is the only general surgeon within a 130km radius in Ethiopia. When we trained him during one […]

“Seeing Syria again, despite its sadness, there’s still a sense of pride”

Dr Ammar Darwish has been part of the Foundation’s family for over a decade. Ammar volunteered as a trauma surgeon […]

“The need in Syria is astonishing”

We’ve just returned from northwest Syria after training 23 local doctors to surgically treat complex wounds caused by the earthquake […]

Leaving a lasting legacy with 14 Yemeni surgeons

Dr Shabnam Parkar is a Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at St George’s Hospital in Tooting. After many years treating children in […]

Training Syrian doctors treating earthquake victims

We are joining forces with Action for Humanity (AfH) to train Syrian doctors in the surgical skills needed to treat […]

“As soon as Russia invaded, we started seeing the wounded”

After troops crossed Ukraine’s borders in March 2022, Igor Belkin, a surgeon from Zaporizhzhia, watched our translated war surgery videos […]

Joining forces with WHO to train 30 Moldovan surgeons

At the invitation of the World Health Organisation (WHO), we were honoured to train 30 surgeons during our first Hostile […]

Upskilling doctors in Malaysia during Tripartite Conference

In December, we were delighted to be invited by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) to attend the […]

Training anaesthetists in war zones

Dr Elma Wong is a consultant anaesthetist in Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. For the past ten years, Elma has […]

Over 160 Ukrainian doctors now trained to treat war wounds

David Nott and Faculty Trainers Dr Pete Mathew and Dr Ammar Darwish recently returned from delivering two back-to-back surgical HEST […]

Overcoming hurdles to train doctors in Palestine

In collaboration with Juzoor for Health and Social Development and the Palestine Medical Council, we trained 34 surgeons in Ramallah, […]

“The skin is alive – it’s all because of you.”

“Here – you do it.” These were the words of our Co-Founder David, as he handed a skin grafting instrument […]

We’re back from training frontline doctors in two Ukrainian cities

An experienced team of trainers have just returned from delivering two HEST courses in Dnipro and Kharkiv. Here, consultant neurosurgeon […]

From underground hospitals in Syria to training in Gaziantep

For the first time, we delivered two surgical training courses over a four-week period in different countries. Our latest course […]

Mosul to Manchester: Our war surgery training in practice

Dr Moez Zeiton is one of our surgical trainers. As a humanitarian surgeon, Moez has witnessed the realities of war, […]

Training in Somaliland with ‘A Woman of Firsts’

In March 2022, we were honoured to train 34 healthcare workers in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Here, our CEO Elly Nott shares […]

A lasting legacy in hospitals across Somaliland

Michael Odesoji, Surgical Nurse at St Mary’s Hospital, attended his first HEST course as Nurse Lead in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Here, […]

Two war doctors, one family

On day one of our HEST course in Erbil, Iraq, our Chief Executive Elly Nott had the pleasure of meeting […]

Meet war doctor trainer, Dr Una Walsh

Dr Una Walsh, General Surgeon and Major Trauma Fellow at St Mary’s Hospital London, is the newest member of our […]

DigiHEST: How we reached 29 countries in two days.

In December, we piloted our first ever Digital Hostile Environment Surgical Training (DigiHEST) course. We transformed an office space, generously […]

Yemen HEST January 2020

The DNF team, in partnership with MSF Spain, recently returned from our latest mission to Yemen which brought in 31 […]

South America HEST October 2019

We’ve recently returned from running two HEST courses in South America, a first for the David Nott Foundation! Held in […]

Syria HEST July 2019

The team has recently returned from their latest mission to Syria. With 46 airstrikes occurring since April on healthcare facilities, […]

Meet Heston!

Our newest team member is Heston: a life-sized replica human crafted from silicon. Heston plays a leading role in our […]

Kenya HEST April 2019

The Faculty of the David Nott Foundation recently returned from its latest mission to Nakura, Kenya (just a short ride […]

Yemen HEST January 2019

The David Nott Foundation ran two HEST courses in Aden, Yemen in January 2019 with the support of Médecins Sans […]

HEST in Libya

HEST faculty in Misrata It was the early hours of 4 March when our DNF team touched down at Misrata […]

Yemen HEST July 2016

David Nott Foundation ran a HEST course in Aden, Yemen from 10-12 July, 2016. 43 surgeons from hospitals in Aden, […]