Stage 1 equivalent posts guidance for Clinical Directors


This page aims to provide guidance for Clinical Directors on the provision of posts for CT3 Equivalent (Stage 1 ‘top up’) training to aid transition between Core Level training on the 2010 Anaesthetics curriculum and Stage 2 training on the 2021 Anaesthetics curriculum.

What is a CT3 Equivalent Year?

In the new 2021 Anaesthetics Curriculum, Stage 1 training is an indicative 3 years duration CT1 – CT3, with Stage 2 commencing from ST4.

For a number of reasons, there will be a cohort of doctors who complete core level anaesthesia training on the 2010 Anaesthetics Curriculum, or 2012 ACCS (Anaesthesia), but who will not commence a ST3 anaesthetics post by February 2022 when the final recruitment to ST3 occurs.

These anaesthetists will need to gain the necessary experience and demonstrate the learning outcomes required for Stage 1 of the 2021 Anaesthetics Curriculum, in order to be eligible for recruitment to Higher Specialty Training in Anaesthesia at the ST4 (Stage 2) entry point. This will be done in a CT3 equivalent year. Doctors are eligible to apply to work on a less than full time basis, following the normal procedures.

A CT3 (Stage 1 ‘top up’) equivalent post that is not in the training programme is the type of post that may have been called a clinical fellow post, occupied by core trainees who required time after core training to perhaps pass the full Primary FRCA exam, or those who wished to take time out before applying for a higher specialty training post.

What should a CT3 Equivalent post offer?

Perioperative medicine

  • access to pre-operative anaesthetic assessment clinics

General anaesthesia

  • experience of elective and emergency surgery for ASA 1-3 patients including obese, frail and elderly patients
  • paediatric experience for children aged five and over
  • experience of TIVA

Regional anaesthesia

  • training in ultrasound guided regional techniques including upper and lower limb, chest wall and abdominal blocks

Obstetric anaesthesia

  • on-call experience in obstetrics including management of ASA 3 parturients

Resuscitation and transfer

  • experience as part of the medical emergency team and involvement in intra-hospital transfers


  • access to pain management clinics (or availability of structured teaching on biopsychosocial model of pain management) and acute pain ward rounds

Intensive care

  • three months experience in adult intensive care unit for those trainees with only three months completed at core level

Doctors in these posts will also require educational supervision, and the ability to attend teaching sessions and departmental quality improvement meetings. They may also need help in preparing for the Primary FRCA exam.

If you would like to contact us, you can email the Anaesthetics Curriculum and Equivalence Team on or call on 020 7092 1550.

Please let us know what you think. If you feel the information on this page could be improved, please get in touch with us.

Last reviewed: 13 January 2023
Next review due: 12 January 2024