Views from the frontline of Anaesthesia - supporting the development of the People Plan

Published: 19/11/2019

The College welcomed the themes and ambitions set out in the Interim NHS People Plan in spring 2019 and we look forward to the detailed proposals to ensure the NHS is the most supportive and progressive healthcare provider to work for.

Views from the frontline of Anaesthesia presents our members’ views on what they feel should be the priorities for the College as we work towards developing a 2020 anaesthesia workforce strategy. Between August and September 2019, the RCoA surveyed the views of a number of stakeholders, including frontline anaesthetists, Clinical Directors, Training Programme Directors and Heads of Schools. This paper captures their perspectives. We are pleased to now offer this further document in support of the People Plan.

The College’s workforce strategy will closely align with the People Plan’s five themes; making the NHS the best place to work, improving the leadership culture, tackling workforce shortages, delivering 21st century care and a future workforce.  We look forward to collaborating with NHS Improvement, Health Education England and wider partners in delivering the plan’s aims.

Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists said:

“Our survey shows morale and retention to be critical issues for our members. The College has long supported a more flexible and supportive NHS working environment, especially amongst older doctors. This is one part of the solution to alleviating workforce pressures.

“Workforce shortages are also a common theme among our members.   I am pleased that our results from our next anaesthetic workforce census will be published in May 2020, and am keen to continue to work with our partners to make sure robust and accurate data can be used to protect the NHS for the future.

“However we also need to consider more creative solutions to deliver truly multidisciplinary patient care, including maximising the potential of the SAS workforce and the development of Medical Associate Professions, including Anaesthesia Associates.

“Ultimately our members have told us that if we are to deliver a truly 21st century NHS then the NHS needs to evolve and become a more co-ordinated, proactive and personalised system of care. Providing effective leadership, increasing perioperative care and integrating care systems so that the NHS can deliver the best patient care for years to come.”