Top Tips for Anaesthetic Core and ACCS Trainees

Dr Kate Holmes, TPD for Anaesthetic Core & ACCS Trainees August 2016

This guide aims to help you stay on top of things in your training. I would advise that you keep a paper copy in your workbook and read it every 2-3 months to ensure that things are up to date. GOOD LUCK!


Basic Introductory Information (see below for more detail):

  • *IAC and *BLT workbooks: Read the introduction section in your IAC workbook (Initial Assessment of Competence – Basis of Anaesthetic Practice). Check what WPBAs you will need to do in your first few months. Both workbooks have summary pages to help you keep track of what WPBAs you have done and which are outstanding. You must complete ALL WPBAs specified in your workbook to complete BLT (Basic Level Training). NOTE there are some slight differences to those listed in the e-portfolio.
  • *Introduction to Anaesthesia: This is a basic manual of anaesthetic practice for your first few weeks
  • Log: Start an anaesthetic log book (RCoA log or on-line anaesthesia) and get used to putting all cases on it, including all procedures that relate to the cases
  • E-portfolio: Use this for all WPBAs and supporting evidence.

Send requests to assessors in a timely fashion and include a description of events and what you learnt. If you keep it up to date it’s easier and put all supporting documents in the library section as additional evidence.

  • Educational supervisor: Meet within the first few weeks to clarify your questions and complete a PDP. There is an *ES meeting pro-forma in the e-portfolio under ‘Library’ and on the deanery website
  • Novice Supervisor: If you have a novice supervisor please meet with them in the first few weeks to organise your clinical training plan.
  • Buddy trainee: Find another trainee to help you with your workbook/log/e-portfolio



  • Study leave: Aim to book this ASAP as departments have maximum numbers that can be away
  • Find out when teaching is taking place locally – usually on Thursdays
  • * Super Thursday teaching, (ideal exam prep) Exeter, RILD:  3rd, 17th Nov, 1st, 15th Dec 2016, 26th Jan, 9th & 23rd Feb 2017

Check *exam dates early and decide when you aim to take the MCQ and SOE/OSCE. Discuss this with your peers and senior colleagues to decide on an individual basis.

MCQ exams are in March, Sept and Nov,   SOE/OSCE are in May, Nov and Jan

Most people new to anaesthetics aim for Sept for MCQ and Nov for SOE/OSCE. Full primary is required to apply for ST posts (applications are in Feb & Sept for start dates in August and Feb)

  • Make sure that you book in for the *local exam prep courses in good time (MCQ takes place in July, SWIPED and SWOT – about 2 weeks before exam weeks)



  • Look at your workbook regularly and plan WPBAs. There is some duplication in IAC & BLT books. You may start to get BLT WPBAs signed off before completing your IAC – so be smart and get organised!
  • Aim to achieve something on every teaching list and have a learning agreement with your consultant on every list: tick off learning objectives or do a WPBA
  • Most people complete their IAC at about 4 months
  • Unit sign off: Some work is undertaken in modules. Ensure that you complete all WPBAs and get everything signed off in your workbook and e-portfolio during the module. For non-modular training keep an eye on your workbook, identify gaps and ask for lists so that you can get units signed off.
  • ICM: CTs do 3 months in ITU and ACCS trainees do 6. The FICM requirements are included in the *BLT workbook. ACCS trainees see below.
  • Transfer/Trauma modules: Can be signed off with transfer or ATLS courses or with experience in ITU
  • Obstetrics: Once completed, you must get your IAC OA certificate from your college tutor or obstetric module lead.
  • Non anaesthetic ACCS trainees – you need to complete your IAC and 2/4 specified modules during your first 6 months in anaesthesia (airway, sedation, transfer & critical incidents, as described in the ACCS curriculum p159-169). Try to pick the associated WPBAs from your BLT workbook so that you do not increase your assessment work unnecessarily.

ICM: All ACCS trainees must complete the WPBAs as specified by the ACCS curriculum (p172-184). It is sensible for anaesthetic badged trainees to get the FICM page sign off too as it does not involve any extra work but has you in line for your BLT certification. All ACCS anaesthetic and ICM training requirements are well summarised on the *ARCP Record Book for CT2 ACCS or via the RCOA ACCS website


  • Your ES (educational supervisor) needs to sign off units in your e-portfolio AND workbook
  • You must get all sections on your e-portfolio to turn green to complete training. ES’s can sign off WPBAs that are not compulsory stating ‘not required’ to turn sections green (eg following infection control training at induction or courses for ALS, Transfer & Trauma). You also need to do ALMATS that are not included on the e-portfolio front page. The workbook needs to be completed to obtain BLT
  • Add ‘personal activity’ (eg QI, audit, reflection etc) under ‘activities’, fill in the pro-forma that appears, attach related documents and save as ‘shared evidence’.
  • Add ‘evidence’ (imported documents) under ‘Library’ heading
  • Link all of these bits of evidence to your ARCP so that your assessors can view everything more readily
  • We endeavour to arrange a RCOA e portfolio training day every year  for all new regional trainees.


ARCP preparation:

  • ARCPs will take place in June/July. Your first year ARCP will be face to face and the CT2 ARCP can be a paper one if you have passed the primary exam and successfully completed your BLT workbook
  • If you have not gained success in your exam by the end of 2 years of CT, 3 years of ACCS training you will be offered an extension of 6 months (as long as all other aspects of your training are in good order)
  • Start your MSF (either ICM or anaesthetic) by Feb/March so that it is done in time for your ARCP (it takes about 6 weeks in total to complete). Aim for at least 12 health care professional respondents
  • Your department will undertake an anonymous consultant structured assessment (SA) a couple of months before your ARCP which will be fed back to you via your ES and checked at your ARCP
  • ARCP documentation will become available on e-portfolio about 1 month before your date. Start linking things to it straight away. Remember to add and link log book, MSF, SA and other evidence
  • Upload your log with the summary page AND list of specialties and procedures
  • Meet with your ES at least 3 times per year and get together at least 4 weeks before your ARCP to ensure that paperwork is complete (the submission deadline is 2 weeks before ARCP date)


Other Activities and ST applications:

  • Look at the ST application website, score yourself and identify where you can increase your score


  • Ensure that you take part in at least ONE audit each year and aim to complete the cycle on at least one that you undertake. Aim to present at regional level or above
  • Undertake a quality improvement/patient safety project and aim to present at regional level or above
  • Find out when regional and national conferences take place so that you can time your audit/QI work accordingly and present there (eg SWAG, SODIT, SOWRA, SASWRA, BADS etc)
  • Get involved with teaching, including formal sessions (Med students, F Docs, simulation, ALS etc)
  • Get involved with SWARM (SW Anaesthetic Research Matrix) to gain experience in research projects.