Anaesthetists are doctors who have had specialist training in anaesthesia, in the treatment of pain, in the care of very ill patients (intensive care), and in emergency care (resuscitation). They will make major decisions with you, although if you are unconscious or very ill, they will make decisions on your behalf.
Your anaesthetist is responsible for:
- your wellbeing and safety throughout your surgery
- agreeing a plan with you for your anaesthetic
- giving your anaesthetic
- planning your pain control with you
- managing any transfusions you may need
- your care in the Intensive Care Unit (if this is necessary).
You will be treated by a consultant anaesthetist, or by another qualified anaesthetist or an anaesthetist in training. You can ask to talk to a consultant anaesthetist if you want
to – there is always one available to help if needed.
Your Anaesthetist and the Team
Anaesthetists work closely with surgeons and other theatre staff.
- Operating department staff with training in anaesthesia, who prepare and maintain equipment, help the anaesthetist and take part in your care.
- Trained staff in the recovery room will care for you after your surgery until you are ready to go back to the ward.
- Medical students and other healthcare staff in training can only take part in your care with your permission. If they do, they are closely supervised.
- Physicians’ assistant (anaesthesia) or PA(A)s are a new grade of healthcare professional trained to maintain anaesthesia under the supervision of a consultant anaesthetist. This means they look after the anaesthetic once it is underway. An anaesthetist will always be present at the beginning and end of each anaesthetic. PA(A)s are not medically qualified, but they have completed training and assessments for the skills they need. They will always have access to an anaesthetist when they need it. At the moment they are only employed in a small number of hospitals.