Clinical observerships for doctors

Illustration of a doctor A clinical observer is a doctor attached to a clinical unit with a named supervisor. Their broad aims are to gain an appreciation of the nature of clinical practice in the UK and observe the role of doctors within the NHS. There is no direct contact with patients and observers must not take part in any procedure involving them. This includes ordering tests, taking specimens and obtaining or witnessing signatures for consent.

If you are interested in a clinical observership, please read through the details below before applying.

Information for doctors interested in observerships

The paediatric surgery and urology unit at Children’s Hospital is a high-volume centre for all facets of paediatric care.

Oncology surgery

We see approximately 10% of all paediatric oncology cases in England. Our two dedicated oncology surgeons undertake approximately 50 major tumour resections via open or minimal-access surgery per year. Their work also includes ultrasound scan (USS) guided percutaneous, minimally invasive and open tumour biopsies.

Lines service

Our dedicated lines service places USS-guided tunnelled central lines and totally implantable venous access devices. This routinely includes babies under 1kg. On average we place 300 devices per year.

Thoracic surgery

In addition, we have high levels of thoracic work with three dedicated Upper GI and thoracic surgeons. Between them, they perform approximately 120 thoracic cases per year. This includes thoracoscopic procedures for congenital lung and foregut abnormalities along with chest wall reconstructive surgery and insertion of Nuss bars.

Colorectal surgery

Our colorectal surgeons undertake surgery for Hirschsprung's disease, anorectal malformations and inflammatory bowel disease along with intestinal lengthening procedures such as STEP and LILT.

Complex patients

All of the paediatric surgeons undertake procedures on complex paediatric patients including those with complex congenital cardiac disease. Along with these patients, we provide a service for neonates with simple and complex congenital diseases.

Minimally invasive techniques

Many of these procedures are undertaken with minimally invasive techniques in our integrated theatre. Amongst others, they include thoracoscopic repair of oesophageal atresia (including long gap) and congenital diaphragmatic hernias. We also perform minimal access surgery for paediatric conditions such as inguinal hernia, pyloric stenosis, gastro-oesophageal reflux, achalasia and others.


Our urology service has a very high level of activity and undertakes a significant amount of work related to neuropathic bladders including augmentation and mitrofanoff procedures. There is a large volume of minimal access surgery including nephrectomies, hemi-nephrectomies and pyeloplasties. Our urology surgeons are also part of the renal transplant team along with colleagues from the liver and small bowel transplant unit.


In addition to the clinical nature of the department, we are heavily involved in research and education. In conjunction with the National Institute for Health Research and the Welcome Trust, we have an onsite clinical research facility which is used for clinical trials.

We have also recently upgraded our minimal access training facilities and provide an on-site laparoscopy course in association with SurgTrac™ from eoSurgical © (

How to apply

If you are interested in coming to paediatric surgery and urology as a clinical observer then please email the following to

Please note we receive a high volume of requests, and it is impossible to reply to them all.

  • A formal letter of interest and
  • Curriculum vitae

If applying from overseas, we will also require:

  • A copy of your passport
  • Your immigration clearance where relevant
  • A confirmatory letter from your sponsor where relevant.

Please note that there may be a charge for obtaining occupational health and DBS clearances.

Applications are accepted between January and June.

Applications sent between July and December will not be processed and may be deleted.