Royal College of Anaesthetists and Association of Anaesthetists statement on ST3 recruitment

Published: 26/10/2021
Joint 1

Yesterday, a number of applicants for ST3 anaesthetics posts were told by the Anaesthetics National Recruitment Office (ANRO) that they had been successful in getting jobs, only to be told later that they had received an incorrect offer. There are also applicants who have received additional communications or received a final outcome that was different to the one displayed earlier in the day.  This caused great distress and upset to anaesthetists who have already experienced so much disruption and uncertainty over the past eighteen months.

ANRO, which is managed by Health Education England (HEE), is responsible for national recruitment to training posts in Anaesthetics. While not part of the Royal College of Anaesthetists or the Association of Anaesthetists, ANRO is a significant part of the National Medical and Dental Recruitment and Selection recruitment process for training and part of HEE. Its actions have an impact on our members and the College and Association will advocate for and support those affected.

Specifically, we need to understand from ANRO and HEE what went wrong and the full scale of any underlying issues, along with assurances of fair and equitable mitigating steps that ANRO is putting in place, clarification on their timescales and assurance of rapid and clear communications with those affected.

We call on HEE and ANRO to commission an independent review into what happened – and we press to be a part of that review. The impact on individuals is paramount, and we would like to hear from members who have been affected so that we can represent your views. Please contact or

In parallel with our conversations with HEE and ANRO, the College and the Association are working to support our members as best we can. Both organisations have been hearing about the distress caused and will work together to support people at this difficult time.

While we wish to understand the personal impact, we also want to offer immediate support to the individuals affected. We will therefore be sharing information with Heads of School, Training Programme Directors and Trainee Network Leads as the people closest to those affected so they can offer support on an individual basis.

As well as the applicants affected by yesterday’s issues, we know that the latest round of recruitment, against a backdrop of changes to the curriculum, has left trainees with questions they need to be answered.

With this in mind, we will set up virtual meetings to provide explanations and answer questions, as well as provide guidance on how to achieve and document the appropriate competencies and evidence in a CT3 equivalent year to allow those doctors to apply for ST4 on the new curriculum.

We will send further communications regarding this recent recruitment process and our discussions with ANRO and HEE as soon as we have more information and answers to the questions our members are putting to us. The discussions may take some days, but we commit to coming back to you by the end of the week with an update if a resolution has not yet been reached.

Dr Fiona Donald

President, RCoA

Dr Jamie Strachan

Elected RCoA Council member, Chair of the Anaesthetists in Training Committee

Dr Sarah Muldoon

Elected RCoA Council member, Deputy Chair of the Anaesthetists in Training Committee

Dr Mike Nathanson

President, Association of Anaesthetists

Dr Divya Raviraj

Chair of the Trainee Committee, Association of Anaesthetists