The introduction of European Working Time Directive, limiting doctors' working hours to 48 per week, has caused recent controversy within the profession. The Royal College of Surgeons of England in particular has been one of the loudest critics of the legislation. One of the main concerns is regarding the negative impact on training hours for those embarking on surgical careers. Simulation technology has been suggested as a method to overcome this reduction in hospital training hours, and research suggests that this is a good substitute for operative training in a theatre. However, modern educational theory emphasises the power of informal workplace learning in postgraduate education, and the essential role of experience in training future surgeons.