The Wessex and Oxford Training Consortium was formed under SAC guidance in 2010, and is based at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (JRH). Both units have a long tradition of training NTNs, as well as UK and overseas fellows. The Training Consortium was set up to address geographical issues of previous rotations and enhance training opportunities via the synergy available from the two centres. The first jointly appointed trainee started the programme in August 2010.
The primary strength of both units has been based on clinical and operative exposure in both adult and congenital cardiac surgery, which includes the full range of standard and advance operative techniques. These include off pump surgery, the use of minimal extracorporeal circulatory support (MEC), minimally invasive surgery, valve repair and sparing surgery, and aortic surgery (including thoraco-abdominal aneurysm surgery).
Surgery for routine and complex congenital conditions such as AVSDs, TGAs and HLHS are routinely undertaken. In addition, at both sites transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is undertaken for high-risk aortic valve patients.
UHS is a national referral centre for Fontan conversion surgery and JRH has an international reputation for mechanical assist devices in heart failure surgery.
There is also a comprehensive thoracic surgery programme with six dedicated thoracic surgeons offering a full range of exposure. This programme provides comprehensive training in minimally invasive thoracic surgery, including thoracoscopic lung resection, with an opportunity to have exposure to oesophageal surgery at UHS .
The academic profile of the Consortium is now very strong. Members include two professors of cardiac surgery and a recent past-president for the SCTS and Chairman of the SAC. Two MDs and two PhDs have been awarded, and over 140 publications published in peer-reviewed journals within the last three years.
The training programme has been strengthened over the last three years with the appointment of four consultants actively providing training in Oxford, and a new thoracic surgeon at Southampton. NTNs appointed to the rotation would expect to rotate between Oxford and Southampton, spending at least two years in each centre, according to training needs and special interests.