Course Details | Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons (NOTSS)

Key Facts

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Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons (NOTSS)

This is a one-day course for consultant surgeons and post-CCT trainees from all surgical specialties. The course examines the non-technical skills which underpin great operative performance using short talks, video simulated scenarios, an audience response voting system, and small group discussions.

At the end of the course participants will be able to understand the theories and research relating to adverse events in surgery and the importance of the non-technical skills in improving performance. Attendees will also be able to use the NOTSS taxonomy to observe, rate, and provide feedback on actions in the operating room.

Target Audience

Consultants and senior trainees in all surgical specialties.

Relevant Grades

ST7, ST8, SAS, Consultant

Course Format

Participants are sent reading material prior to attending the course. The course gives participants practical experience of observing and rating non-technical actions. The format is centered on small group work and the use of simulated scenarios from the operating theatre and other industries.

Course Objectives

Technical skills are, of themselves, inadequate to ensure optimal outcome following surgery. This course aims to address the non-technical skills that are the essential cognitive and interpersonal aspects of operative surgery, and underpin technical actions by optimising and enhancing the performance of individual surgeons and through them, the surgical team.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, participants should be able to:

1) Demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of non-technical skills and error management to surgical performance

2) Observe and discuss examples of good and poor behaviours in the operating theatre

3) Use a taxonomy of non-technical skills

4) Rate behaviours using the NOTSS rating scale

5) Provide structured feedback to trainees/other consultant surgeons based on observations

6) Discuss how non-technical failures can lead to poor clinical outcomes.


Costs for this course begin at £95 and vary depending on the location. Contact the Education Department for more details.


Professor George Youngson

Location Specific Details


To book a place on this course please contact Rosemary Darwood:



To book a place on this course please contact Samuel Stefan:


Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any pre-course materials for this course?

Yes there are pre-course materials available for this course and you will be given access to them three to four weeks prior to the course.

How do I contact the Education Section?

The Education Section is open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.  If you wish to contact a member of the team please see contact details below:

Education mailbox:

Phone number:  0131 527 1600

Will I receive CPD?

All RCSEd educational activity is awarded CPD hours.   Please see individual course for specific award.

Will I receive a Certificate?

Yes, RCSEd Certificates of attendance are awarded for all educational courses and are handed out at the end of the course.  (However, please note that where an event has a PASS or FAIL this will be posted to you after the event). 

What is RCSEd’s course cancellation policy?

What happens if RCSEd cancels a course I am booked on?

On the odd occasion, RCSEd may need to cancel a course, for example if we are affected by an event out with our control or if it is not financially viable for us to deliver the course.   If we do need to cancel, we will let you know as soon as possible and provide you with a full refund of course fees paid.

RCSEd shall incur no further liability (e.g. travel or accommodation costs).   You may wish to consider taking out appropriate travel insurance for any non-refundable costs you may incur when arranging to attend the course.

What happens if I need to cancel my place on a course I am booked?

If you cancel your place more than four weeks before the event date, you will incur an administration fee of 10% (or £50, whichever is greater) of the total course fee.

If you cancel your place less than four weeks before the start of a course, once the course has started or your do not notify us, the total course fee will be charged and you will not receive any refund.

Can I cancel a course booking online?

NO, cancellations must be made directly with the education team via phone or email. (Email: or phone 0131 527 1600)

Can I transfer to another date for the same course?

YES, you can transfer to another date by contacting the Education section directly (   Please note that you can transfer only once and transfers can only be made if more than 4 weeks prior to the start of the course, without incurring additional costs.  

How do I book a place on an RCSEd Course?

You can book a place for all our courses by visiting the RCSEd Website, and selecting the course you wish to book.  Please note that you will need to register with the website in order to book.

For some regional and international courses you will need to book directly with the centre.  Please check individual courses for details.

You can also contact the Education Section by phone to book (0131 527 1600).

What payment methods do RCSEd accept?

Visa and MasterCard are accepted on the RCSEd website and over the phone to the education team.

All course bookings will receive a booking confirmation email:  this email acts as your receipt.

Request an Invoice:  If your course fees will be paid by a third party (eg trust, hospital, charitable fund) and they wish to be invoiced then they must provide us with an official purchase order.  We are unable to process applications without this.

The purchase order should be submitted with the application form and can be emailed to  Please note that we can only invoice organisations and not individuals.  Please check with your hospital or trust, as some may require you to pay yourself and then claim the money back.

Do I receive a discount if I am a Member of RCSEd?

A 10% discount is applied to all educational courses and events organised directly through RCSEd, for Members, Fellows, Associates and Affiliates.

Are you able to help me with my VISA application?

YES, RCSEd can provide you with a Visa support letter confirming the course details and fees paid by you.  This is only possible once you have booked your place on a course and RCSEd have received the full course fee.

If a course is fully booked what can I do? Is there a waiting list?

If a course appears full and you wish to be placed on a waiting list then please contact the education team directly by email or phone 0131 527 1600.

Is lunch / refreshments provided?

YES, for all educational courses, refreshments are served throughout the day and lunch is provided if the duration is one day or more.


Associated Documents

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Get in touch

If you have any questions about this course, please contact us and a member of our Education team will be happy to help you.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Ashley McEwen

Phone: +44 (0)131 668 9237
Fax: +44 (0)131 557 6406