Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) welcomes the recent Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) Medical Workforce Census Report 2020.
We fully appreciate and understand the workforce challenges being faced across anaesthetics in Wales and are committed to working with our colleagues and partners to safely address these challenges.
Recruitment into our anaesthetics training programmes across both core and higher specialist training has been highly successful, with 100% fill rate of posts in Wales for the last eight years.
Prior to the release of the RCoA Workforce Census Report, we had already started to address the workforce deficit across Wales with a safe and sustainable phased expansion of training posts across our higher specialist training (ST) programme. In August 2020, 3 new ST3 posts were created, with a further 3 new ST3 posts agreed for August 2021, with plans for additional posts being considered for August 2022. We will continue to review the anaesthetics workforce and the impact of this expansion as part of future workforce commissioning recommendations.
We are also committed to supporting the training of Anaesthesia Associates, ensuring support for professional development and retention of SAS grade anaesthetists, who are fundamental to our service in Wales.