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Warwick University medical student wins national surgical skills prize

Mark Mobley winner

A Warwick Medical School student has won the grand final of a UK-wide surgical skills competition which was run by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) on Saturday 11 February 2012.

Mark Mobley, aged 31, from Birmingham and a third year medical student, beat off competition from 900 initial entrants and 370 regional finalists to get to the grand final in which he and 19 other finalists were tasked with demonstrating surgical skills in disciplines such as tendon repair, anatomy, cross infection and laparoscopy tests. But it was Mark who was judged to have exceptional skills to win the Lister Surgical Skills Competition.

The Lister Surgical Skills Competition was organised by RCSEd as part of a series of events to commemorate the life and contribution of Lord Joseph Lister, known as ‘the father of modern surgery’ 100 years after his death.

Explaining more about the competition, the President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Mr David Tolley said:

“As one of the oldest medical colleges in the world, with around 20,000 members across the UK and internationally, we are proud of our record of innovation within surgery, and it is most fitting, therefore, we held this final at the culmination of the College’s Lister Centenary Celebration.

“Through our work in setting standards for surgical practice, training and examinations, we strive to achieve the best outcomes for our patients – the medical students who competed are our future surgeons and we are delighted to have been able to give them the opportunity to experience relevant skills-based challenges at this early point in their careers. With more than 900 entrants for the competition at the outset, Mark Mobley can be justifiably proud of his outstanding achievement.”

Commenting on the experience of competing and winning the final, Mark Mobley said:

“I’m very excited, it’s not really sunk in yet, I’m just really pleased! The whole competition was great fun and all the staff and surgeons involved in the competition were brilliant - really welcoming and supportive. It’s also been fantastic to meet the other finalists from all over the UK and share stories of how each person got into medicine. I, myself, worked as a theatre auxiliary before going to university which gave me my taste to pursue a medical career.

“I found the final of the competition challenging and learnt a lot from it. I really enjoyed practising on the laparoscopic station as I’ve never used such state-of-the-art equipment before and it was also my first opportunity to carry out tendon repair; I’ve witnessed it being done hundreds of times, but to actually be able to do it myself and do it well was a really rewarding experience and a great achievement for me.

“Winning this competition has now given me a steer on my career ambitions as before I’ve been undecided whether to follow a career in surgery after my medical training. I’m quite keen to learn more about robotic surgery as I have a particular interest in minimal access surgery and medical simulations, having previous experience in 3D visualisation technology and would love to get involved with that more in the future and get some further hands-on experience. I’m really looking forward to my prize of going to the Johnson & Johnston Surgical Training Institute in Hamburg and look forward to seeing what cutting-edge surgical technologies are available there, as well as the opportunity to take advantage of further skills training in such a state-of-the-art facility.

“As an affiliate now of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh I hope the relationship will be useful for helping me to build my CV and gain access to future core training opportunities.”

Sponsored by Johnson and Johnson Medical Companies, Mark’s prize will be a two-day trip to their European Surgical Training Institute in Hamburg where he will get the opportunity to undertake further practical hands-on surgical skills training, as well as shadow and interact with delegates in a tailored programme designed to suit his needs.

1. Mark won the regional heat for the West Midlands Deanery with Samantha Chambers, also from Warwick Medical School, coming runner-up in the regional competition.
2. A former Fellow of the Edinburgh College, Lister became world-renowned for his groundbreaking work in the prevention of wound infection, which contributed greatly to the advancement of surgical standards and led to Lister becoming known as ‘the father of modern surgery’. The Grand Final of the Lister Surgical Skills Competition took place around the anniversary of Lister’s death in addition to a series of events – including seminars, conferences and exhibitions - which over 400 surgeons from around the world attended to commemorate Lister’s contribution to surgical advancements and the legacy he has left modern medicine today.
3. To find out more about The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the benefits of its Student Affiliate Network, visit

For further information please contact Kate Cox, Communications Manager, University of Warwick on 02476 150483, 07920 531221 or The press office for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh can be contacted via Aoife O’Sullivan on 0131 527 3411 or