Years 1&2 Core Training Summary

Core training in anaesthesia normally takes two years, leading to the award of the Basic Training Certificate from the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA). Trainees are then eligible for competitive entry to specialist training posts (ST3).

Core training is usually split between two of the six hospitals. One year is spent in a teaching hospital; either Heartlands Hospital or University Hospitals Coventry and Warwick. The remaining year is spent in a district general hospital; one of either The Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, The George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield or Warwick Hospital.

During the first year of training, the initial three months are spent gaining basic experience in anaesthesia and attaining the initial test of competency. This then allows trainees to begin to work with more distant supervision. Three months are also spent in intensive care. The remaining time is spent consolidating the basic skills learned, in various areas of the speciality.

The second year is usually when training in obstetric anaesthesia begins. Skills are also consolidated in other areas including paediatrics, the elderly, trauma, regional anaesthesia and pain management. Trainees are also expected to participate in audit activity.

By the end of the two years of core training, trainees are expected to have passed the primary examination of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (FRCA). The examination assesses knowledge of the fundamentals of anaesthesia including physiology, pharmacology and physics. It is in two parts, the first part is a multiple choice paper. When this has been passed, the second part comprises an open structured clinical examination (OSCE) and a structured oral examination (SOE). The RCoA produces a syllabus outlining the knowledge base covered by the examination. The Warwickshire school organises teaching directed towards the primary FRCA on a half day release basis. There are also regional exam preparation courses which alternate between the three schools.


Years 3-7 Intermediate and Higher level Training Summary

Trainees are appointed to ST3 level posts via competitive interview. In years 3 and 4, one year is spent at either UHCW or Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals and one year (two six month blocks) at two of the following hospitals - Warwick, Redditch, Nuneaton or Good Hope. During these two years a one month paediatric module is provided at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital offers a one month neuroanaesthesia module.

The aim of intermediate training is to provide a broad base of experience in most specialty areas and training follows the intermediate training curriculum of the Royal College of Anaesthetists. It culminates with completion of all the modules of training as evidenced by workplace assessments supported by assessment tools and passing of the final FRCA exam, following which an intermediate level training certificate is awarded. Teaching for final FRCA is provided monthly at UHCW. Exam preparation courses are also run at UHCW prior to each exam sitting.

Higher and advanced level training takes place in years 5,6 and 7 at the Hospitals mentioned above. Placements are allocated by the Programme Director and are dependent on training requirements. These years provide an opportunity to gain more in depth training in the key areas of interest such as obstetric, cardiothoracic, paediatric and neuro anaesthesia as well as intensive care and pain medicine. There are opportunities for research and out of programme training during the higher training years. Completion of training results in the Certificate of Completion of Training and trainees may then apply to PMETB for inclusion in the Specialist Register.