Position statement on Anaesthesia Practioners (September 2006)

Early in 2006, the College and Association of Anaesthetists issued a joint Interim Statement on the Anaesthesia Practitioner project. That statement confirmed both bodies’ support for the programme as it had been developed under the guidance of the Stakeholder’s Board. That support continues but recent changes in NHS funding have led to a reassessment of priorities by some Strategic Health Authority (SHAs) with a consequent diminution of interest in the training for the Anaesthesia Practitioner role. In the face of this change, there is a risk that alternative approaches may be considered by some to develop a similar role to the Anaesthesia Practitioner or to employ overseas-trained staff such as Nurse Anaesthetists. Patient safety has been of paramount importance in all stages of development of the Anaesthesia Practitioner programme and any deviation from the agreed training may endanger that principle. The Royal College and the Association, therefore, do not support any alternative strategies, and would counsel their fellows and members against being involved in any such initiatives.

Dr Judith Hulf, President, RCoA
Professor Mike Harmer, President, AAGBI

01 September 2006