Background and Aims Historically regional anaesthesia has been an optional unit of UK higher anaesthesia training. However, 2019 U.K. day surgery guidelines recommend all anaesthetists should be familiar with regional techniques1 and a recent Anaesthesia editorial proposed a list of ‘Plan A’ regional blocks, that all anaesthetists should be competent in2.
These publications demonstrate the necessity for regional anaesthesia to develop from a subspecialist skill to an essential one. To reflect this, the incoming 2021 UK anaesthesia curriculum requires trainees to independently perform ultrasound-guided regional anaesthesia to receive a certificate of completion of training3.
We aimed to investigate the current level of training in ultrasound-guided regional techniques amongst higher trainees in our institution in line with the expectations of these publications.
Methods A survey of regional anaesthesia training and ability to perform ultrasound-guided regional techniques was performed amongst higher trainees at our tertiary–centre teaching hospital.
Results 100% response rate was obtained from 23 trainees. 43% and 60% felt confident in performing a brachial plexus block and lower limb block, respectively. 30% felt confident performing regional anaesthesia for awake surgery whilst 17% reported sufficient opportunities in general training to develop competence in both upper and lower limb regional techniques.
Conclusions Despite applications of regional anaesthesia becoming more prevalent, it currently remains a subspecialist skill. The mandate for regional anaesthesia proficiency in the new UK curriculum aims to address this disparity and improve equity of patient care. Our findings suggest there will need to be significant promotion of regional anaesthesia within training to enable universal competence.
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