Medical

Anaesthetist

Anaesthetists provide anaesthetics to patients before, during and after surgery.

Annual Salary

£26,350 to £102,500

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

48

5%
Future employment

There will be 5% more Anaesthetist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • preparing patients for surgery by explaining any risks or side effects
  • giving anaesthetics to patients
  • observing and monitoring patients during surgery
  • resuscitating and stabilising patients in the emergency department
  • relieving pain during childbirth
  • easing pain after an operation
  • managing acute and chronic pain
  • helping psychiatric patients receiving electric shock therapy

You'll also give anaesthetics to patients having operations outside the operating theatre, like radiology and radiotherapy, and dental surgery.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

University

To become an anaesthetist you'll need to complete:

  • a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
  • a 2-year foundation programme of general training
  • up to 8 years of specialist training

You may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine if you have no A levels or equivalent qualifications in science. This includes a one-year pre-medical foundation year.

If you already have an upper second class of first class science degree, you could take a 4-year graduate entry route into medicine. Some universities will also accept non-science graduates.

When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) to check your suitability for a career in medicine.

There's a lot of competition for places on medical degrees. Most university admissions departments will expect you to have done some relevant paid or voluntary experience.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science
  • 3 A levels at grade A in chemistry and either biology, physics or maths, plus another academic subject

You can find more details about this career from the Royal College of Anaesthetists and Health Careers.

£26,350 to £102,500

Starter salary: £26,350 to £45,750 (doctors in training)

Experienced salary: £37,500 to £70,000 (specialty doctors)

Consultants working in the private sector may be paid more.

These figures are a guide.

48

You'll work long hours including nights and weekends, and you'll be part of an out-of-hours rota system.

You'll work in consulting rooms, wards, operating theatres and special units like accident and emergency.

As a consultant anaesthetist in the NHS, you may also find opportunities to work in the private sector. With experience you might lead or manage departments.

With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior (or consultant) roles. 

You could also teach medical students, postgraduate doctors in training, nurses, midwives and paramedics.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of biology
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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