History of the Association of Anaesthetists

When Dr Henry Featherstone founded the Association in 1932, GPs gave most anaesthetics in the UK and Ireland as a sideline. Anaesthetists were not respected by other specialists and were poorly paid. Surgeons provided referrals and collected and paid their fees.

The Association of Anaesthetists represents anaesthetists in the UK and Ireland medically and politically and has close contact with many other countries. It promotes and encourages the academic and clinical advance of anaesthesia and the welfare of anaesthetists. It has initiated or promoted all major developments in British and Irish anaesthesia for example the introduction of the Diploma in Anaesthetics (DA) in 1935 and the Association’s journal Anaesthesia in 1946.

The Association's negotiations before the NHS was established in 1948 ensured anaesthetists received consultant status. It instigated the founding of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (now the Royal College of Anaesthetists) in 1947 and supported the foundation of the Faculty (now College) of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1959.

The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre

The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre contains the Association’s archives, the Anaesthesia Museum and a rare book collection and is open to everyone. The Heritage Centre is a unique resource for research into the history of anaesthesia. Find out more >