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Professor Ruben Canelo established the Academic Surgical Unit in January 2017 offering opportunities to increase the capacity of research with North Cumbria to help improve patient healthcare. The Academic Surgical Unit (ASU) at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUHT) has been created to develop high calibre integrated clinical and academic practice in the North of England, joining six other Academic Surgical Units across the United Kingdom. 

The Department of Surgery at NCUHT is well able to perform a wide variety of surgical interventions including HPB benign, Upper GI benign, Colorectal, Beast, Endocrine, Urology and Vascular.  The Trust is linked to the Northern deanery for our surgical trainee allocation and department is well staffed.

In the last 2 years we have increased the academic and educational activity in the Department of Surgery, providing teaching for F1 doctors on weekly basis and other meetings e.g. MDT, Quality Improvement Meetings, in order to maintain a good medical practice and provide excellence care. These meetings and activities are carried out in the context of clinical governance, continued medical education, professional development, Audit and research.  


The Main Objectives

Teaching & Training

Embracing short courses aimed at CPD, clinical skills courses and academic programmes up to MSc, MD, and PhD levels, as well as the co-ordination of undergraduate clinical placements in surgery.

Conferences - workshops / conferences in HPB/UGI /colorectal Surgery and allied specialities on an annual basis, this will serve as canvas for interaction between surgical colleagues of national and international stature.

Audit and Research

Increasingly high profile research and audit work carried out in the Surgical Department under the umbrella of the Academic Surgical Unit in collaboration with universities in the region. Securing grants for research projects to be carried out in surgery and increasing the volume of publication in professional and academic journals.

Quality Improvement


Improving the quality of surgical care provided at NCUHT through the translation of research and audit findings into clinical practice, along with an increasing ability to attract and retain surgeons of the highest calibre in North Cumbria.

ASU Mission


The ASU offers opportunities to strengthen surgical clinical excellence by providing research, training and education.

  • To strive for the highest standards of surgical care.

  • To undertake world-class basic science & clinical research.

  • To provide high quality teaching and training for Medical Students, Foundation Doctors and Physician Associates.

  • To provide high quality CPD, professional training and academic qualifications.

Benefits of the ASU

  • Supports surgical staff recruitment and retention.

  • Strengthens the Trust’s relationship with Universities in the region.

  • Strengthens clinical excellence by providing a platform for research, training and teaching.

  • Develops a local academic staff (faculty) pipeline.