The incident at the Mayday Hospital in Thornton Heath, Surrey is alleged to have taken place in early July.
A disciplinary hearing has been scheduled for next week and the hospital has refused to comment, saying it would be prejudicial to the conduct of the hearing.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "We are aware that there was an incident in which it was alleged that a student on work experience was in an operating theatre. We await the outcome of the hospital's internal inquiry. On the face of it this would appear to be rather worrying."
Dr John Spiers, who is Chairman of the Patients' Association, reacting to the reports said: "Given the attitudes of some consultants nothing would surprise me. It shocks me to my cotton socks and it will frighten many patients.
"Nobody should be in an operating theatre who is not properly trained and regulated. We do not want bob-a-job week in the operating theatre.
"What we want is public information so that patients can judge whether surgeons are any good.
"It seems that some consultants think they are a law unto themselves and it is time they were managed."Reuse content