Specialist Spotlight; the role of an anaesthetist


The skills of an anaesthetist are utilised in all aspects of patients care and they form the largest hospital medical speciality (both NHS and private hospital facilities).

The anaesthetist core of speciality is the perioperative anaesthetic care of a surgical patient. The term perioperative refers to the three phases of surgery, preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative. Anaesthetists may also have a wider scope of practice that could involve any of the following:

  • The preoperative preparation of surgical patients
  • The resuscitation and stabilisation of patients in the Emergency Department
  • Pain relief in labour and obstetric anaesthesia
  • Intensive care medicine
  • Transport of acutely ill and injured patients
  • Pre-hospital emergency care
  • Pain medicine including:
    • The relief of post-operative pain
    • Acute pain medicine and the management of acute teams
    • Chronic and cancer pain management
  • The provision of sedation and anaesthesia for patients undergoing various procedures outside the operating theatre. Examples of this include different endoscopic procedures, interventional radiology and dental surgery (this list is not exclusive)

How do people become an anaesthetist?

The training process to become an anaesthetist is intensive. Initially starting with an undergraduate medical course of generally five years, following this there would be foundation training in a hospital which lasts 2 years. After the first year of foundation training the trainees become a fully registered medical practitioner. Through the 2nd year of training, trainees can apply for training in a speciality and anaesthesia is just one of these specialities. There are then two programmes available, either a seven year (ACCS) or 8 year (CCT) programme.

Although the anaesthetist major role is to provide anaesthesia during surgery, this role is ever expanding and anaesthetists often hold key management rolls such as a Clinical or Medical Director. They have a wide range of experience working across many specialty boundaries and this enables them to see the whole picture when it comes to healthcare management.

The above information has been sourced from https://www.rcoa.ac.uk/


SMP Healthcare