Working in anaesthesia

Supporting anaesthetists throughout their career

Anaesthetists and the specialty of anaesthesia and perioperative medicine have a central role in the future of healthcare. Our work is focused on delivering that vision in the UK and overseas.

The workforce

The anaesthesia workforce consists of different grade professionals, consultants and anaesthetists in training on long term and short term contracts.  Staff Associate Specialists (SAS) doctors are non- consultants and are extremely competent, often coming to the UK with a wealth of experience.

Anaesthesia Associates (AAs) are non- medically qualified staff and the RCoA believes that they make a valuable contribution towards a sustainable workforce. Recently the role of the AA has been agreed to be regulated by the GMC, which will help advance their role in the workplace.

In recent years, the workforce has been overstretched across the NHS and the college supports different ways of working, retention and more staffing to help improve the care we deliver to patients during these challenging times.   Both SAS doctors and AAs make a valuable contribution to the anaesthetic workforce, along with other health professionals. The college not only wants to deliver the best healthcare but also look at how we can make the NHS a better place to work.  

The support, guidance and services

The college supports and develops doctors throughout all stages of their career, by setting recruitment, training and assessment standards.


Revalidation applies to all doctors registered with a licence to practise with the GMC. It is based on a local evaluation of doctors' practice through appraisal, during which a portfolio of supporting information (including participation in continuing professional development) must be collected and reviewed. The college produces supportive guidance and resources on this.

CESR and Equivalence

CESR is the process whereby a doctor who has not completed an EU training programme applies to have evidence of their skills assessed against the standard set by the UK curriculum. If successful, the applicant will be added to the GMC’s Specialist Register and they will be eligible to apply for substantive consultant posts.

Simulation Strategy

The 2018-2023 simulation strategy promotes the current and future use of simulation to support anaesthetists of all grades and at each stage of their career. This will be achieved by identifying and / or developing high quality learning resources that can be made readily accessible to relevant practitioners and communities.