Diploma information

Rupert Wharton is a tutor for the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH) Diploma of Hand Surgery, which is supported by the University of Manchester.


To contact Rupert about diploma tutorials please e-mail info@rupertwharton.com


Each diploma offers slightly different advantages and both compliment each other well.


European Hand Diploma


The European Diploma is an exam based assessment that affords the successful candidates membership of the European Board of Hand Surgeons.  The registration process is usually in November/December, and requires a number of completed forms related to your CV and your logbook.  They need to be signed by your tutor who should be a hand surgeon who is happy to supervise your progress in the diploma.


If you are successful in registration, there will be a Part 1 exam, usually in March.  This is now delivered online, and is True or False, negatively marked.  This generates some debate about the appropriate strategy to adopt.  My approach was to answer every question I was fairly certain about, but leave the ones where I had substantial doubt.


Part 2 is a VIVA process delivered over three days at the time of the FESSH Conference (in the days prior) and in the city where the conference is taking place.  Generally candidates need to be present at the briefing at the start, and then on two of the three days.  The diploma is awarded in person to the successful candidates immediately on completion of the exam.


We found the exam to be a relaxed and friendly.  It was a good opportunity to meet other candidates from across Europe, and understand how their training is structured.


More information about the registration and examination process can be found at: https://fessh.com/examination-committee/examination-2024/



British Hand Diploma


The British Hand Diploma is run by BSSH and the University of Manchester.  Candidates need to be Post FRCS exam in either Plastics or Orthopaedic Surgery.  They are asked to identify tutors in advance, who will sign off their application.  They then work towards the different pieces of coursework (a video of themselves performing a routine operation, an algorithm for a common clinical scenario, and a systematic review); as well as the tutorials for each of the 8 modules. 


When all of these are signed off, they can apply for the exam.  This is run as two parts, three weeks apart.  The first part is an online written exam with single best answer and extended matching questions.  The second part is VIVA  based which can include patient examination.  Candidates are given a scientific paper before the exam, and this frames one of the diploma stations.


The programme can run for up to four years, and took most of us two years to complete.  Following completion the successful candidates are presented with their diploma at the BSSH Spring Meeting, and they are introduced at the Diplomates Dinner during that meeting.


More information about the registration and examination process can be found at: https://www.bssh.ac.uk/professionals/diploma_in_hand_surgery.aspx


Coming soon: Diploma videos