Anaesthesia National Recruitment 2021 applicants CT1 and ST3

Published: 29/04/2021

The Royal College of Anaesthetists notes that the most recent recruitment round saw a record number of applicants to both CT1 (2,046) and ST3 (1,056) programmes for the August 2021 recruitment. The increase in applicants for Core Training programmes is positively received and reflects the efforts being made by the College to raise the profile of anaesthesia-related careers among medical students and foundation doctors.

The total numbers of interviews carried out for both CT1 and ST3 were 1,281 and 865 respectively for 544 posts at CT1 and 359 posts at ST3.

Due to significant commitment from all assessors, the national interview process followed the RCoA Plan A process with two panel members for each applicant. In addition, assessors were involved with reviewing ST3 applicants’ self-assessed portfolio scores and conducting appeals processes in short timeframes to ensure that interviews ran according to the planned schedule. Shortlisting for CT1 involved multi-specialty recruitment assessment for the first time which was administered successfully. 

We are grateful for the significant contribution from assessors and stakeholders involved in all aspects of the recruitment process. The College would also like to thank applicants to both Core and Higher posts for their patience with the ongoing changes to recruitment processes, that have been required to adapt to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have acted, and will continue to act, on the feedback of both assessors and applicants to inform developments in future recruitment rounds.

The high number of applicants represent positive interest in anaesthesia and confirms the need for further investment for additional CT1 and ST3 posts in anaesthetics. The College will continue to make significant efforts to influence policymakers for an increase in the number of anaesthetic training posts.

Due to the competition for each post, the College acknowledges that there will be a large number of applicants who will be disappointed by the news of not receiving an offer in this round. We also recognise the extremely difficult period that doctors in training have been going through since COVID-19 emerged, whilst being redeployed and continuing their training. And we should remember that doctors in training remain central to addressing not only the NHS’ response to the pandemic, but also to the ongoing recovery and clearance of the backlog.

The role of supervisors in supporting anaesthetists in training has not only been extremely important during this crisis, but also during preparation for transition to the new 2021 Anaesthetics Curriculum. The College is grateful for all the efforts they are making in this regard and further recognises the continued investment of supervisors to support anaesthetists in training which has made the specialty extremely popular.

Professor Thomas Gale

Chair, RCoA Recruitment Advisory Group

Dr Chris Carey

Chair, RCoA Education, Training and Examinations Board