A consultant anaesthetist is a fully trained doctor with at least seven years of additional special training within anaesthesia, critical care and pain medicine.

Anaesthetists form the largest specialty group of doctors within the NHS. 

As highly trained specialists their role extends beyond anaesthesia for surgery to include pain management and intensive care. Their specialist training also provides them with the essential knowledge and experience to deal with many emergency situations.

They are vital members of the resuscitation team.

Anaesthetists are described as perioperative physicians because they provide treatment and care around ('peri') operations and help ensure the successful outcome of your surgery.

Anaesthetists are the specialists who ensure that you are pain free during and after the time of surgery. Some anaesthetists, because of their special training, are also qualified to care for other sorts of pain, such as chronic cancer pain.

Intensive care

Most doctors in intensive care are anaesthetists as they have the medical background and training to allow them to monitor and care for the bodily functions which are often compromised in seriously ill patients, such as:

  • breathing
  • heart rate and function
  • blood pressure
  • temperature
  • fluid balance
  • nutrition
  • kidneys
  • liver.