Grades of Anaesthetists

There is a seven-year training programme for doctors in Anaesthesia. During this time the trainee anaesthetist works initially under very close supervision. As they become more experienced then they are supervised less closely. You can read more about the stages of training and the overall Training Programme in Anaesthesia.

Consultants are considered to be fully trained and are allowed to practice independently (without supervision). Before a doctor can become a Consultant they must be registered on the GMC's specialist register.  Consultants are responsible for the education and supervision of junior doctors and SAS doctors.

Associate Specialists (SAS)
Associated Specialists are doctors who have trained in a medical specialty but have taken the non Consultant career path. They would have undertaken some specialist training and would normally have started work as a Staff Grade or equivalent and then move onto a more senior associate specialist grade.

In 2008 the associate specialist grade was replaced by the Specialist Doctor grade.  Although there will be no appointments to this grade, many associate specialists will remain until they retire.

Staff Grade
Staff Grade doctors work in a specialist area and would have done some training and are likely to have a professional qualification.  They will have left formal training for many reasons, however can return to a training post later and become consultants. 

In 2008 the staff grade was replaced by the specialty doctor grade. Although there will be no appointments to this grade, many staff grade will remain until they retire.

Specialty Doctors
The specialty doctor was introduced in 2008 and replaced the staff and associate specialist grades (SAS).  The specialty doctor has a wide range of training and experience as their grade would also subsume other grades such as hospital practitioner, clinical assistant and trust grade.  For further information on career development please see the RCoA pages on SAS and Specialty doctors.

Non-Medical Careers in Anaesthesia
Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) and Physicians Assistants in Anaesthesia PA(A)s are careers that are open to individuals who are not medically trained.   More information can be found here.



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