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FRCS first pass variance: deanery and specialty contrariety
  1. Chris Brown1,
  2. Tarig Abdelrahman1,
  3. John Pollitt1,
  4. Mark Holt1,
  5. Wyn G Lewis1,2
  1. 1 Wales Post Graduate Medical and Dental Education Deanery, School of Surgery, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2 Upper GI Surgery, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Wyn G Lewis, Wales Deanery Specialty School of Surgery, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK; wyn.lewis4{at}


Background FRCS exit examination success may be interpreted as a surrogate marker for UK Deanery-related training quality. The aim of this study was to evaluate relative FRCS examination pass rates related to Deanery and Surgical Specialty.

Methods Joint Committee on Surgical Training-published examination first attempt pass rates were scrutinised for type I higher surgical trainees and outcomes compared related to Deanery and Surgical Specialty.

Results Of 9363 FRCS first attempts, 3974 were successful (42.4%). Median and mean pass rates related to Deanery were 42.1% and 30.7%, respectively, and ranged from 26.7% to 45.6%. Median (range) pass rates by specialty were urology 76.3% (60%–100%), trauma and orthopaedic surgery 74.7% (58.2%–100%), general surgery 70.0% (63.1%–86%), ENT 62.5% (50%–100%), cardiothoracic surgery 50.0% (25%–100%), oral and maxillofacial surgery 50% (40.0%–100%), neurosurgery 50% (22.7%–100%), plastic surgery 47.6% (30.0%–100%) and paediatric surgery 25% (16.7%–100%). Significant variance was observed across all specialties and deaneries (p=0.001).

Conclusion As much as threefold variance exists related to FRCS examination first attempt success, trainees should be aware of this spectrum when preferencing deaneries during national selection.

  • Surgery
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  • Contributors CB: data collection, write-up and submission. TA: data collection, data analysis. JP: critical revision of the article. MH: critical revision of the article. WL: oversaw project, final approval prior to submission.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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