Intended for healthcare professionals


Nearly 700 anaesthetists have training interrupted after cuts

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 12 May 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1213
  1. Clara Munro
  1. The BMJ

Nearly 700 anaesthetic trainees will be unable to continue their training this year despite 680 consultant anaesthetist posts having been unfilled in the UK in 2020.1

Anaesthetic training, like many UK training programmes, comprises two stages: core training (CT1-2/3) and specialist training (ST3-8). Completion of both stages allows application to consultant level. ST3 posts have been cut from 392 in 2018 to 359 in 2021 despite 569 trainees having been accepted into core training in 2020.2

This creates a bottleneck situation, as 185 fewer posts are available at ST3 than are offered at CT1 level,2 a pattern that has continued for several years. With 1056 applications for just 359 ST3 jobs, this leaves 697 doctors without a training post.3

These trainees all have a minimum of four years’ postgraduate experience, have paid at least £1000 in personal costs towards exams,4 and have committed time towards their own training.

In a statement the Royal College of Anaesthetists said that the total number of training posts was set by the statutory education bodies in the UK—Health Education England, NHS Education Scotland, Health Education and Improvement Wales, and the Northern Ireland Medical and …

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