Training Anaesthesia Care Practitioners - Are We Turkeys Voting for Christmas?
Dr Bill Horton, University Hospital, Aintree and Prof Andrew Smith, Morecambe Bay
The first speaker was Dr Bill Horton from University Hospital Aintree who is currently the ‘Clinical Champion in Day Surgery’ for the Strategic Health Authority looking at New Ways of Working. He described the performance of Cheshire and Merseyside as the one of the worst performing areas in day surgery targets in the country. He also described parallel changes in other professions such as Law and Accountancy. Dr Horton described the extended roles of these future practitioners in the areas of preparing patients for surgery, consent, surgery and discharge which he thought would lead to an improvement in both patient care and the working life of consultants. He felt that these practitioners were both the true rewards of a talented workforce and the cornerstione of modernisation.
The second speaker was Dr Andrew Smith, Consultant Anaesthetist from Morecambe Bay Nhs Trust and Professor of Health Research. Firstly he described new ways of working and the benefits of APs. They could help in meeting EWTD targets, improve training, potentially save money although this was debatable, and extend the role of existing theatre staff. He described the possible objections such as fears over safety, the displacement of medical anaesthetists, flexibility and competition for training. There is already a national curriculum and more centres are starting training schemes.
Dr Smith then talked about his experiences in Lancaster where 2 nurse anaesthetists from Switzerland had been taken on. He described how they had been integrated into the department and how attitudes had slowly changed positively to their presence. Funding for them had subsequently finished although the departemnt wished their continued presence. The wider implications of their stay were described such as changes in anaesthetic techniques, staff deployment and SPA time, the greater extent of protocolisation and the change in construction of theatre lists, theatre staffing and design.
Success in the Phase 2 role out will depend upon local support and leadership as well as adequate funding.
A number of questions were asked and a vote was taken with a third in favour, a third undecided and a third against the training of anaesthetic practitioners.
The vote of thanks was given by Dr Christine Bell followed by dinner.