RCoA responds to the government agreeing to place anaesthesia on the Shortage Occupation List

In response to the government agreeing to place anaesthesia on the Shortage Occupation List, Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists said:

“The Royal College of Anaesthetists is pleased the government has agreed to implement the Migration Advisory Committee’s proposal that all medical practitioners be added to the shortage occupation list.

“Anaesthetists make up 16 per cent of all hospital consultants.  Overall, 75% of departments across the UK have at least one unfilled consultant post. This represents a combined total of 411 unfilled consultant posts or a 6.9%1 gap across the UK;
a 57% increase since 20152.

“We know that 30%3 of our members received their Primary Medical Qualification from outside of the UK, therefore the College is very happy to see the removal of recruitment barriers including the resident labour market test and minimum income threshold.

“The College has previously called for significant investment into training so the UK can become ‘self-sufficient’ in doctors by 2025. However, growing a domestic workforce will require time to develop. In the interim, it is therefore essential that the NHS be able to recruit talent from abroad to fill rota gaps and maintain adequate staffing levels.”


  1. Unpublished RCoA data from survey of clinical directors. Data was returned from 145 respondents responsible for 5,558 consultants (~70% of anaesthetic consultants working in the UK). Data was collected through an electronic survey in November and December 2018.
  2. Medical Workforce Census Report 2015. RCoA, 2015 (http://bit.ly/2Ffq72M)
  3. RCoA Survey 2016, Q9. Please indicate where you received your Primary Medical Qualification. Base: (5,196). Data collected from 1-22 April 2016.

07 August 2019