Statement on Health Education England training places announcement
Friday 13 May 2022
Responding to the announcement by Health Education England that 70 new anaesthetic training places will be funded, President of the Association of Anaesthetists Dr Mike Nathanson said:
“We welcome the news announced today that 70 new anaesthetic training places will be funded by Health Education England (HEE).
For too long, anaesthetists have been working within an insufficiently staffed workforce, putting severe pressure on doctors who are already facing a mountainous task attempting to clear the elective care backlog. Today’s announcement will go some way to support our future workforce, and we thank HEE for understanding this.
However, the Government must do more to sustainably grow the workforce if we are to ensure the NHS can continue to operate as safely as possible. We have an anaesthetic workforce shortage of at least 1,400 across the UK, with many leaving the profession early.
To put this announcement into context, with 70 additional places a year, it could take a staggering thirty years to fill the current anaesthetic workforce gap - which is only set to grow.
At a time when we need anaesthetists to tackle the backlog, every effort must be made to further increase the recruitment and retention of our doctors.
The Government can help ease this pressure by listening to the calls from us and the healthcare community and committing to regular, independent assessments of staffing needs in the NHS to ensure proper workforce planning is undertaken. We hope, for the sake of our staff and patients, they will do so.”