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Core Anaesthetic Training

Core Anaesthetic Training takes two years to complete. CAT is the first stage of basic training in the CCT programme.

Core training has two parts:

The Anaesthetics Training Programme

Trainees can access anaesthetics training directly through Core, or  Acute Care Common Stem training. The Core Training programme takes two years to complete and focuses on Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine training. ACCS training takes three years to complete, with the first two years dedicated to the ACCS programme.  Trainees therefore focus on Anaesthetics training during the third year, at CT2 level.

It generally takes seven years for trainees who enter Anaesthetics training via the core training route to obtain the CCT in anaesthetics. For trainees who enter Anaesthetics training via the ACCS programme, it generally takes eight years to obtain the CCT.

Basic Training

Basic training is core level training over CT1-2, with an optional CT3 year, and is comprised of an Introduction to Anaesthesia, followed by Core Anaesthesia. CAT trainees generally complete the introduction to anaesthesia within the first six months of training, and must pass the IAC within this time. After that, they complete core anaesthesia training and have to pass the primary FRCA examination.


It takes six months to complete the Introduction to Anaesthetic Practice, during which trainees must pass an initial assessment of competence, or IAC. The following 18 months is spent completing Core Anaesthesia. Trainees must also pass the primary FRCA examinations during this time.

The IAC comprises three workplace-based assessments:

In order to pass the IAC, trainees have to complete three workplace based assessments: five Anaesthesia Clinical Evaluation Exercises (A-CEXs), eight Case-Based Discussions (CBDs) and six Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (DOPSs).

Successful completion of the IAC demonstrates that a trainee has achieved a basic understanding of anesthesia and can therefore administer anaesthetics under supervision. The trainee can then take part on the on-call rota.

CAT Curriculum

The CAT curriculum consists of

Basic Sciences to Underpin Anaesthetic Practice

Firstly, trainees are expected to obtain a good understanding of human anatomy to safely practice anaesthesia at a core training level – supporting the trainee’s progression to intermediate level. They should gain a thorough understanding of human physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology, and should also be able to apply this knowledge in practice. Furthermore, they should be able to use their knowledge to support their progression to intermediate level training.

Trainees should also obtain a thorough understanding of the basic principles of physical and clinical measurement, particularly how monitoring equipment works, the safety of that equipment, and the techniques used for measurement. Additionally, they should know the effects of ageing on physiological and pharmacological function.

Trainees will be expected to understand the basis of statistical concepts, as well as the background to measurement error and uncertainty.


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