Cappuccini Test

The Cappuccini Test is a simple six-question audit designed to pick up issues relating to supervision of anaesthetists in training and non-autonomous SAS grades (NASG) who do not fit the description in Guidelines for the Provision of Anaesthesia Services (GPAS) of 'an SAS doctor who can function autonomously to a level of defined competencies, as agreed within local clinical governance frameworks, or with consultants.'

The test is named after Frances Cappuccini, who died giving birth to her son at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in 2012. The coroner’s inquest into her death noted that supervision arrangements for anaesthetists at the trust were ‘undefined and inadequate’. The test was developed for hospitals to assess the level of supervision given to their SAS and trainee anaesthetists, and to make improvements with the aim of improving the safety of patients.

The audit comprises the following steps:

Identify about 20 elective lists over a two-three week period that will conducted by a trainee or NASG without direct, on-the-spot supervision. Attend the theatre during the list and ask the trainee/NASG:

  • who is supervising you (name)?
  • how would you get hold of them if you needed them now?

Use the answer to the second question to attempt to contact the supervising consultant yourself. If you can’t get hold of them, record this on the audit tool. If you do get hold of them, ask them:

  • which lists (ie who) are you currently supervising?
  • what surgical specialty are they doing now, do you know of any issues that they are concerned about?
  • if they required your help, would you be able to attend?

Further information can be found here.

If you (or the person completing the audit), have any questions, please contact

For more information on the Cappuccini Test please see the Bulletin article, published March 2018 (pg 36-37), or the two media reports below:

Cappuccini resources

Cappuccini audit tool

Excel spreadsheet that can be used for recording results of the Cappuccini test locally

The Cappuccini Test: Presentation

PowerPoint presentation describing the Cappuccini test