Basic surgical skills modules in medical education are effective in teaching skills and increasing confidence among students approaching surgery. However, these modules are not delivered universally and their effect on the professional development of graduates has not been established. We aimed to assess the impact of a 10-week basic surgical skills module on attitudes and technical skills of first year medical students compared to interns.Eighteen students participated and were assessed using a 4-part questionnaire. Technical skills were assessed by observing students perform a basic interrupted suture, using the objective structured assessment of technical skills (OSATS) tool. Fourteen interns were recruited.Students were more confident in surgical scrubbing (mean score 4.0 vs. 2.86, p = 0.001), and performing a basic suture (4.05 vs. 1.93, p = 0.000), more enthusiastic about assisting with an operation (4.5 vs. 3.0, p = 0.001) and more likely to consider a career in surgery (4.16 vs. 2.28, p = 0.000). Technical skills were greater in the student group (mean score 30.8 vs. 19.6, p = 0.001). Five interns had taken part in surgical skills modules as undergraduates. Their technical skills were significantly higher compared to interns who had not (n = 9) (28.8 vs. 14.5, p = 0.006), and they were more likely to consider a career in surgery (3.6 vs. 1.5, p = 0.036).The introduction of surgical skills teaching to the undergraduate medical curriculum has a positive impact on students' attitudes towards surgery and accelerates basic technical skills development. Consideration should be given to development of a standardised undergraduate core curriculum in basic surgical skills teaching.