General surgery

General surgery is a broad based specialty which includes the diagnosis and treatment (operative and non operative) of patients with disorders of the colon and rectum, upper gastro-intestinal organs, breasts, endocrine organs, skin and subcutaneous structures, blood vessels (including varicose veins) and the head and neck region. It also includes the early and ongoing management of trauma.

Vocational training in New Zealand

Vocational training in general surgery and its specialty branches is administered by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). Doctors who complete RACS training are awarded the Fellowship of the RACS (FRACS) in general surgery.

Am I able to apply to work as a recognised specialist in New Zealand?

To apply for vocational registration in general surgery you need either:

  • the FRACS qualification; or
  • an international postgraduate medical qualification, where your combination of qualifications, training and experience is considered by Council to be equivalent to, or as satisfactory as, the FRACS.

What standard will my training, qualifications and experience be compared against?

Recognised specialists in New Zealand must complete at least 5 years of training and satisfy the requirements below:

  • 1 year of basic general surgical training, incorporating:
    • 6 months in a general or acute surgical unit
    • 6 months in a non-general surgical unit
    • passing the generic surgical science, surgical science in general surgery and clinical examinations
  • 4 or more years of advanced general surgical training
  • experience in colorectal, upper gastro-intestinal, breast endocrine, trauma and vascular procedures
  • experience in gastrointestinal endoscopy, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures
  • submit logbooks to their supervisor every 6 months
  • pass the Fellowship examination after training is completed
  • participate in the RACS continuing professional development programme.

Once a trainee has successfully completed all the examination and training requirements they will be awarded the FRACS in general surgery.

I want to make a vocational registration application

To make a vocational registration application, please refer to the Vocational Registration Homepage and select the option appropriate for you.

Am I able to apply for other types of registration?

You may be able to apply for more than one type of registration. To find out which is the best fit for you, please use our self assessment tool.