Statement on CT1 recruitment

Published: 15/02/2023

We would like to extend our support to applicants for CT1 posts who have been affected by errors in the recruitment process run by the Anaesthetics National Recruitment Office (ANRO) at Health Education England (HEE). As the professional body responsible for the specialty, we are very concerned that people who are trying to forge a career in anaesthesia have been subject to these mistakes.

We understand that some applicants who had not received offers of an interview were erroneously sent emails asking them to choose an interview slot, or to rank their programmes for CT1 anaesthetics. We also know of at least one applicant who was sent an interview offer that was subsequently withdrawn.

It is also clear that the tone of some of the subsequent communications that applicants received from ANRO was inappropriate and lacked consideration for the stress and anger caused. ANRO and HEE have told us that all those affected have now received an appropriate email of apology and that human error in relation to standard operating procedures was the cause of emails being sent to the wrong people.

We understand errors can and do happen in any organisation, but it is imperative that the response is open and transparent, and that due care is given to the people whose lives are impacted. This is the goal we have set ourselves as a College when we respond to any errors of our own. Doctors are held to very high standards of professionalism and are rightly asked to be accountable and to remediate when they fall short of these. The applicants have every right to expect the same high standards from those responsible for decisions that have such a significant impact on their careers and personal lives.

We have met with representatives from ANRO and HEE and called on them to ensure that urgent action is taken to prevent these errors from being repeated. We were reassured to hear that immediate changes have already been made and further work is being prioritised, but we will remain in contact with them to make sure it continues. 

Applicants and others in anaesthesia are understandably angry, upset and frustrated by what has happened and we want to ensure that their voices are heard and acted upon. If you have been affected by this issue, please contact us directly so that we can represent your views in our conversations with ANRO and HEE. You can get in touch with us at  

We will update members on our discussions with ANRO and HEE when we have more information.

Dr Fiona Donald
President, Royal College of Anaesthetists