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Scottish Medical Training

Scotland - the home of medical excellence

Speciality: Anaesthetics

Programme Description
GMC Reference: NOS/379

The North of Scotland School offers Specialty training in two centres, Aberdeen and Inverness. Both centres have most surgical specialties on a single site providing a stable platform from which trainees can become established. Basic training can be completed over 2 years in either centre. Specialty training also occurs at both sites. Most of the ST3 posts are based in Inverness, moving to Aberdeen for ST4 -ST7, providing experience of training and service within a relatively large but isolated DGH setting and a tertiary referral teaching hospital. The North of Scotland School participates in the national Primary and Final FRCA examination preparation courses with local courses also available.

Experience is broad and in Aberdeen includes exposure to all major adult surgical specialties with the exception of transplantation surgery and some highly specialised surgical sub specialties. Elective and out of hours general paediatric services are provided in The Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, with the exception of major subspecialties requiring intensive care facilities. Core trainees undertake 3 month blocks in ICM and maternity, with a short block in paediatrics, and although the ST curriculum is delivered in blocks, exposure to all specialties continues throughout the training programme.  Both centres are involved in the teaching of medical students as part of their commitment to the University of Aberdeen. The Institute for Medical Science is on the Aberdeen campus and the academic department of Anaesthetics actively encourages trainee involvement in research. In addition, on site, the Suttie Centre is a joint facility run by NHS Grampian and The University of Aberdeen. It is the base for The Aberdeen University Medical School includes state of the art facilities for Clinical Skills teaching in all specialties.

Options are available for out of programme experience in years ST6-7 for subspecialty training to an advanced level either in or out with the region (subject to prospective approval by the TPD, Postgraduate Dean, GMC, RCOA).

Aberdeen is situated on the North Sea coast enjoying one of the sunniest and driest climates in the UK. The city is large enough to have a city “feeI” and buzz but small enough to allow access to the close-by countryside within minutes. Most trainees reside within a short commute of the hospital. The city has excellent amenities, transport links with other major cities in the UK and the closeness of Royal Deeside, the Grampian mountains (summer and winter) make Aberdeen a perfect rural / urban mix.

Inverness sits at the estuary of the River Ness on Scotland’s Moray Firth coastline. It is the capital of the Highlands of Scotland and has excellent facilities for culture, sport and recreation. A major attraction of the city is its proximity to the mystical Loch Ness and the rugged mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Many people looking for a good life – work balance choose this urban / rural setting.

Specialty Information

Training in Anaesthetics in Scotland is provided within four separate Deaneries and Schools of Anaesthetics: North of Scotland, East of Scotland, South-East of Scotland and West of Scotland.

Each School of Anaesthetics delivers a complete training programme based on the 2010 Curriculum produced by the Royal College of Anaesthetists. This describes the learning outcomes, assessment strategy, and learning methods for an indicative 7-year programme of broad based training in Basic, Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Level Anaesthetics. The knowledge, skills and attitudes required for the Initial Assessment of Competency, the Certificates of Basic and Intermediate Levels of Training and for specific sub-specialties are detailed under training section of the Royal College of Anaesthetists web site (

The curriculum spans the period after foundation training up to the award of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in Anaesthetics. Anaesthetics is a stand-alone CCT, but can also be combined with a CCT in Intensive Care Medicine (ICM). Arrangements for dual and single training in ICM, to CCT are changing and prospective candidates are advised to consult the RCoA website for up to date details.

Entry to the training programme would normally be directly from Foundation Year 2 to Core training level 1 (CT1) and for trainees who have completed Basic Training entry is at ST3. An alternative route into Anaesthetics is following a two-year Acute Care Common Stem training programme, leading to entry at ST3.


Research, audit, teaching and management opportunities

The Anaesthetics North of Scotland programme takes place in both Inverness (CT1- ST3) and Aberdeen (CT1-ST7)

Both centres have the advantage of having all the surgical specialties on one site. This allows the novice trainee a stable environment for developing a career and the more experienced trainee an opportunity to experience either DGH work or the more specialized tertiary referral surgical specialties respectively. We do however visit more rural sites for clinics on a weekly basis.

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary provides a very broad experience of anaesthesia for all the surgical specialties with the exception of Transplant and Paediatric Cardiac Surgery and the 16 bed ICU, one of the largest in Scotland, allows the opportunity to train in ICM to advanced level. Similarly the on site Royal Aberdeen Childrens Hospital and the Aberdeen Maternity Hospital provide the opportunity for paediatric and maternity anaesthesia training from Core onwards.

Research is actively encouraged by Professor Nigel Webster in the Academic department and by other colleagues in the Clinical department. Options exist for out of programme experience in years ST 5-6.5 of training.

Time may be spent in subspecialty training to an advanced level either in or out with the region, in research or in training elsewhere in the UK and occasionally abroad (prospective approval by the TPD, Postgraduate Dean, PMETB and the RCOA is required for all options).

Subspecialty training to an advanced level in neuro-anaesthetics and paediatrics would involve a short secondment to a tertiary referral centre. In ST6 there is an opportunity to compete for a Regional Anaesthetic and Anatomy Teaching Fellowship which uniquely allows trainees to develop both these aspects of their career. The department also offers the oportunity to train to an advanced level in Obstetrics and to be appointed by competition to the local Fellowship in Pain Medicine.

Aberdeen and Inverness, although apparently geographically isolated, are in fact as well served by air, rail and road as the Central Belt and uniquely allow quick and easy access to the wild and spectacular scenery of Royal Deeside and the Highlands - internationally famed for hill walking, climbing, golf and in a good year even skiing! Both Inverness and Aberdeen have vibrant modern city centres with good retail, cultural and dining experiences. In short they are both great places to live and bring up families.

Where is the training delivered?
Training is delivered across:

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, Royal Aberdeen Childrens Hospital, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen, Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Aberdeen

Contacts and Useful Links
Programme Type Deanery based or National: Deanery
Administration office North of Scotland
Lead Dean / Director
Responsible Associate Postgraduate Dean or Assistant Director (GP) Dr Joy Miller
Specialty or Sub-specialty Specialty or Sub-specialty: Specialty
Date of GMC recent approval August 2010
Associated Royal College - Faculty
Royal College of Anaesthetists (web site)
Curriculum and Associated Assessment System
Programme Administrator: Named Programme Administrator: Kathleen Forsyth
Address: NHS Education,2 Central Quay, 89 Hydepark Street, Glasgow G3 8BW
Tel: 01412231415
Programme Director Programme Director Name: Dr Anoop Kumar
Address: Department of Anaesthetics Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Aberdeen AB25 2ZN tel: 01224 553144
Quality of Training Quality Management

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