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Scottish Medical Training

Scotland - the home of medical excellence

Speciality: Core Anaesthetics

Programme Description
GMC Reference: NOS/SRT/866

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 environment for training. During Stage 1, trainees will spend CT1&2 years at either one of these hospital sites and rotate to the other one for the CT3 year. Stage 2 training is also split between the sites, with most trainees spending 6-12 months in Inverness in ST4 year with rest of the Stage 2 training taking place in Aberdeen. Stage 3 training is undertaken entirely in Aberdeen. This rotation between the two hospitals allows trainees to gain experience of working in a relatively large DGH setting and in a tertiary referral teaching hospital.

Experience gained is broad and in Aberdeen this 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 paediatric intensive care facilities. Obstetric services are delivered through the Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. In Inverness, at the Raigmore Hospital, trainees have access to most surgical specialities except neurosurgery and cardiothoracic anaesthesia. Similar to many DGH(s) in the country, obstetric and paediatric workload is less in this hospital when compared to that in Aberdeen. There are busy Intensive Care Units at both sites, allowing trainees to get excellent training opportunities in managing critically ill patients.

Stage 1 trainees(CT1-3) will undertake training in most surgical specialities required for gaining stage level learning outcomes for this training (HALO). They will also undertake 6 months of ICM training, which will be split between Aberdeen and Inverness sites. 3 months of training is provided in maternity with a short block in paediatrics in CT1 and CT2 year. In addition to this trainees will get a further 3 months of paediatric training in CT 3 year at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s hospital. Due to differences in clinical workload between Aberdeen and Raigmore Hospital sites, there is some local variation in how Stage 1 training is delivered in each of these hospitals. For those commencing training in Raigmore, catch-up training is provided in paediatrics and maternity when they rotate to Aberdeen in CT3 year.

Stage 2 trainees (ST4-5) will spend time in general specialities, obstetrics, paediatrics, cardiothoracics, neurosurgery and ICM. These are geared to deliver learning outcomes for Stage 2 level of the training programme. Trainees will spend 6-12 months of ST4 year in Raigmore. The general block of training will be split between the 2 hospital sites. Both hospitals undertake major work in upper and lower GI surgery, hepatobiliary surgery, gynaecology, vascular surgery and orthopaedics.  All specialist areas of training including Stage 2 ICM will be delivered at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Stage 2 trainees will also gain additional experience in maternity and paediatrics at the Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.

Stage 3 training (ST6-7) is undertaken entirely in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. During this time trainees will get exposure to a wide variety of specialities. This year is aimed at consolidating the more ‘generalist’ competencies. Trainees will undertake training in sub-specialities that will prepare them for a consultant career by the end of training programme. In ST6 or ST 7 year, trainees will receive focussed training in a Special Interest Area (SIA) of their choice. Options are available for this locally or as out of programme training (subject to prospective approval by the TPD, Postgraduate Dean, GMC, RCOA).

Trainees will undertake duties on the Out of Hours rota at banding level 1A. On-call work covers theatres, maternity hospital, children’s hospital and the ICU. Trainees are under immediate, local or distant supervision at all times, as appropriate for their level of training.

The North of Scotland School participates in the national Primary and Final FRCA examination preparation courses with local courses also available for this. Trainees are provided protected teaching time to attend weekly teaching and Study Leave for attending courses. All trainees are provided Educational Development Time as recommended by the RCoA, to develop the Generic Professional Capabilities of Anaesthesia Curriculum 2021.

Trainees will get opportunities to teach 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 and has a state of the art facility for Clinical Skills teaching in all specialties.

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 buzz but small enough to allow access to close-by countryside within minutes. Most trainees reside within a short commute of the hospital. The city has excellent amenities and good transport links with other major cities in the UK. Proximity to the Royal Deeside and the Grampian mountains (summer and winter) allows Aberdeen to provide a perfect mix of rural and urban lifestyle choice.

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. It too has good transport links with rest of the UK, making it a popular tourist location. 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 work-life balance choose this city for the urban / rural setting it offers.

Specialty Information:

Training in Anaesthetics in Scotland is provided within four separate 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 2021 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 delivered through Stages 1 to 3. The knowledge, skills and attitudes required for the Initial Assessment of Competency and for completion of all Stages of the training programme are detailed in the Anaesthesia Curriculum 2021, under training section of the Royal College of Anaesthetists web site (

Anaesthetics is a stand-alone training programme, but the training can also be combined with a CCT in Intensive Care Medicine (ICM). For more information on dual training in ICM, prospective candidates are advised to consult the RCoA website for further details.

Research, audit, teaching and management opportunities

Trainees are provided with Educational Development Time (EDT) during the week. This is at 2 hours fortnightly for Stage 1&2 and 4 hours per week for Stage 3. Trainees are required to discuss use of EDT with their ES and use them to develop all 7 areas of GPC areas required in the Anaesthesia Curriculum 2021.

Academic research is led by Professor Patrice Forget in the Academic department at Aberdeen with involvement from other colleagues who have a research interest. Aberdeen has a very active research portfolio which can be accessed via the Aberdeen Anaesthesia Research Network. The department regularly publishes work in major national and international journals. There are further opportunities to engage with research through the R&D department of NHS Grampian, NHS Highland and the Aberdeen University. The Academic Centre at the Raigmore Hospital also offers opportunities to develop this area of interest.

An active QI group leads several QI projects in both these hospitals. Trainees are encouraged to take part in QI activities both for improving patient care and for meeting curricular requirements.

There are opportunities to engage with clinical governance and management groups in both these hospitals. Senior trainees have representation on some of these committees.

Both Aberdeen and Raigmore Hospital have excellent link with the Aberdeen University. Trainees are encouraged to be involved with teaching, participate in OSCE exams and to support the medical school in other ways.

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 Professor Adam Hill
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 December 2022
Associated Royal College - Faculty
Royal College of Anaesthetists (web site)
Curriculum and Associated Assessment System
Programme Administrator: Named Programme Administrator: Alan Summers
Address: NHS Education, 2 Central Quay, 89 Hydepark St, Glasgow G3 8BW
Tel: 0141 223 1424
Programme Director Programme Director Name: Dr Anoop Kumar
Address: Consultant Anaesthetist Department of Anaesthetics Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Aberdeen AB25 2ZN tel: 01224 553144
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