General description of the work Consultant Anaesthetists undertake

The main work of a Consultant Anaesthetist is to put patients to sleep while they undergo operations or procedures. The Anaesthetist has the responsibility to ensure that the patient’s vital signs are monitored and that the patient has enough oxygen while under general anaesthetic.
The Consultant Anaesthetist is usually the main doctor in charge of patients when they are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Consultant Anaesthetists are also in charge of spinal or regional anaesthesia such as epidurals in labour or spinal anaesthesia for Caesarean sections or other operations.
Consultant Anaesthetists are also involved in Chronic Pain Management and are usually the doctors in charge of Pain Clinics.

Most common clinical areas / procedures leading to a claim of clinical negligence

  • Obstetric anaesthesia – problems with epidural anaesthesia during labour or spinal anaesthesia during a Caesarean section.
  • Being awake or being aware during an operation when the patient should be asleep.
  • Brain damage during general anaesthesia
  • Problems related to intubation during anaesthesia.
  • The management and monitoring of a patient on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
  • Problems involving chronic pain management or chronic pain syndromes.

Sub–Specialities / Alternative and Additional job titles

The Consultant Anaesthetist may also be known as a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care or a Consultant in Pain Management or a Consultant in Obstetric Anaesthesia (if he/she mainly works in obstetric anaesthesia).

Usual Qualifications

The Consultant Anaesthetist will usually have FRCA (Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists) after his/her name.

Academic Appointments

The Consultant Anaesthetist may be a Lecturer or Professor of Anaesthesia at a Medical School. He/She may be an Examiner for the Royal College of Anaesthetists.