Neurosurgeons diagnose, treat and manage patients who suffer from diseases and conditions affecting the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and extra-cranial cerebrovascular system. A Neurosurgeon's scope of work includes treating head and spinal trauma, brain tumours, spinal stenosis, metastatic lesions, hydrocephalus, parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

I love the fast pace of neurosurgery and the enormous physical and emotional challenges the specialty presents.

The night I put my first external ventricular drain in a critical patient and realised I intervened quickly enough to save her life – was the event that had me sold on neurosurgery.

Metro South Hospital and Health Service

Clinical Practice

Neurosurgeons perform a range of procedures on the head, spine and peripheral nerves. Examples of commonly performed procedures include; traumatic haematomas, cerebral aneurysms, spinal discectomies, laminectomy and laminoplasty, spinal fusion, nerve repair and neurectomy. Examples of common conditions treated by neurosurgeons include; head and spinal trauma, brain tumours, spinal stenosis, metastatic lesions, hydrocephalus, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Statistics and information - Neurosurgery

Number of specialists - QLD

Number of new fellows - QLD

Number of specialists - AUS

Number of new fellows - AUS

Average weekly hours

Average Age

% Aged 60+

36% of 2018 workforce intend to retire by 2028

Proportion Female/Male - QLD


Location - QLD

Major cities

Public/Private QLD


Number of trainees - QLD

Number of new trainees - QLD

Number of trainees - AUS

Number of new trainees - AUS

PGY new trainees - QLD

Proportion Female/Male - QLD


Length of Training

5 years full-time

Method of Allocation

College-selected trainees may be allocated to a training post by:

  • College
  • Queensland Health pathway/network (centrally coordinated)
  • Queensland Health facility (accredited for training)

Training and assessment summary

For detailed information in relation to training and assessment requirements, please contact RACS.

Training program overview

Neurosurgery trainees are selected directly into the sub-specialty and progress through the SET (Surgical Education and Training) program, an integrated program designed to provide clinical and operative experience to enable trainees to engage in the comprehensive care of neurosurgical patients. The main components of SET training are placements in hospital posts, short courses (skills and specialty-specific), research and assessments. Upon completing all requirements of the training program, trainees may apply for admission to Fellowship of RACS.


Applicants must have permanent residency or citizenship of Australia and New Zealand at the time of registration and hold general (unconditional) medical registration in Australia or general scope or restricted general scope registration in the relevant specialty in New Zealand. Applicants are also required to have successfully completed the RACS Hand Hygiene Learning Module and RACS Let’s Operate With Respect eModule and and have passed the RACS Generic Surgical Sciences Examination (GSSE). In addition, applicants must have completed a minimum of 24 weeks full-time equivalent of dedicated neurosurgical experience in the 3 years immediately prior to application. Further details are available from RACS.


Minimum 50% of full-time commitment however trainees must apply to the relevant specialty board at least 6 months prior to the proposed commencement of part-time training. Training must be completed within 9 years.

Interrupted training

Interruptions may only be granted in 12 month increments to coincide with training years.

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Regional Training Pathways