After initial experience in general and vascular surgery at Liverpool Mr Stirrat switched to orthopaedic surgery in 1985 with basic training in hand surgery at Northwick Park, London. He was a senior resident on the Harvard Orthopaedic programme in 1986/87. Higher training then followed at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital with special interest in peripheral nerve injury.
He became consultant at Sunderland Royal Hospital in 1991 where he was Clinical Director in Trauma and Orthopaedics from 1997 for 3 years. He has been responsible for organising postgraduate training in surgery of the shoulder and elbow for the Northern Region. He was on the Medical Advisory Committee at Spire Washington Hospital from 1994 to 1997 and is an Executive Director of Matrix Health Services UK, a company based in the Northeast of England which delivers healthcare in partnership with NHS organisations.