SNAP! We’re looking for ideas that crackle and pop

The College, alongside the National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia (NIAA) Health Services Research Centre (HSRC), has launched a topic search for the next Sprint National Anaesthesia (SNAP) project – SNAP3.  Previous SNAP topics developed organically within the HSRC, so this is the first time that topic selection for a SNAP has been thrown open to general submission, following the model established by the National Audit Projects (NAPs).  Do you have the big idea percolating that could be the victorious proposal?

You may be casting your mind back as to what the SNAPs actually entail.  Whereas their older siblings the NAPs examine rare but extremely serious complications in anaesthesia over a year-long period, SNAPs are short observational clinical research studies examining much more common events, affecting a very large number of patients, conducted with a very short data collection window of a few days at most. (Though their planning and data analysis of course take much longer).

We are very excited about the possibilities – we know that anaesthetists are a keen-minded bunch and we are sure that there are many fantastic concepts out there amongst Team Anaesthesia UK.  However, that’s not to say that only anaesthetists can make a proposal; suggestions are welcome from all quarters including other healthcare professionals and members of the public. 

Previously SNAP1 examined patient reported outcomes after surgery and anaesthesia and SNAP2 looked at the epidemiology and decision-making around postoperative critical care admission.  We are entirely open to SNAP3 exploring any avenue of anaesthesia-related practice. The specific SNAP submission criteria are that the topic must be:

  • important to patients
  • important to anaesthetists
  • be currently incompletely studied in incidence or nature
  • be a short observational clinical research study
  • recruit a large number of patients from as many NHS hospitals as possible in a short period of time
  • engage ‘grass roots’ anaesthetists, particularly trainees, in delivering the studies – this has been a huge component of previous SNAPs and we want to see it continue into the future
  • not amenable to study by other methods (specifically NOT suitable for either clinical trial, national audit or long-term registry).

Topics that may potentially involve collaboration with other specialties and/or international collaboration are welcome, but it is by no means essential.  If the topic suggestion is a great one, we can always begin those discussions after it has been selected.

If you’re thinking: “I do have a great idea for a SNAP, but I haven’t got the time/am not experienced enough/just don’t feel like being the clinical lead for it” – worry not!  Proposing a topic for SNAP3 does not commit you to leading the final project.  There will be a secondary process later in the year to recruit the clinical lead.  If you are interested in leading a SNAP, the role will come with salary backfill of 1 PA and there will also be a clinical fellow to support you on the project.

To submit your SNAP3 proposal, download and complete a SNAP3 Proposal Form and send it in to us at before 9am on Friday 31 May 2019.  If your topic is selected, you will be asked to present it at a selection meeting to be held at the College on Monday 1 July 2019 (and if several of you have submitted the same topic, we might ask you to join forces for the discussion).

During the selection process for NAP7, I was consistently impressed by the proposals that came in from the body of UK anaesthetists. I hope to be similarly blown away by the topics you propose for SNAP3 – let’s go for it.

James Goodwin


Back to RCoA Blogs »