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Association of Anaesthetists
AAGBI shield.jpg
Founded 1932
Founder Dr Henry W Featherstone & Sir Ivan Magill
Focus Anaesthesia

The Association of Anaesthetists, in full the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI), is a professional association for anaesthetists in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

It was founded by Dr Henry Featherstone in 1932, when 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 AAGBI'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 equivalent Faculty of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (now the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland in 1959.

The AAGBI adopted the motto in somno securitas (safe in sleep) when it was granted the right to bear arms by King George VI in 1945. Patients and anaesthetists alike can be secure in the knowledge that the Association continues to protect their mutual interests. The AAGBI office is located in the centre of London.

Past presidents

Association of Anaesthetists blue plaque
Blue plaque, London
  • 1932-35 - Henry W Featherstone OBE MD LLDHon FFARCS
  • 1935-38 - Joseph Blomfield OBE MD FRCS FFARCS
  • 1938-41 - Zebulon Mennell FFARCS
  • 1941-44 - Ashley Daly FRCS FFARCS
  • 1944-47 - Archibald D Marston CBE MD FRCS FFARCS
  • 1947-50 - John Gillies CVO MC FRCSEd FFARCS
  • 1950-53 - W Alexander Low MC FFARCS
  • 1953-56 - Sir Geoffrey Organe MD FRCS FFARCS FFARACSHon FFARCSIHon
  • 1956-59 - T Cecil Gray CBE KCSG OStJ MD FRCP FRCS FFARCSHon
  • 1959-62 - Ronald Jarman DSC FRCS FFARCS
  • 1962-65 - Vernon F Hall CVO FRCA FFARCSHon
  • 1965-67 - Herbert H Pinkerton FRCP (Glasg) FFARCS
  • 1967-69 - R Patrick W Shackleton CBE DM FFARCS
  • 1969-71 - A John W Beard MD FRCA
  • 1971-73 - J Alfred Lee FFARCS FFARCSIHon MMSA
  • 1973-76 - Philip J Helliwell FRCA
  • 1976-78 - Cyril F Scurr CBE LVO FRCS FRCA FFARCSIHon
  • 1978-80 - Stanley A Mason FRCA AKC
  • 1980-82 - W Derek Wylie FRCP FRCS FRCA FANZCAHon
  • 1982-84 - Michael D Vickers FRCA FANZCAHon
  • 1984-86 - Thomas B. Boulton OBE TD FRCA FDSRCS
  • 1986-88 - Michael Rosen CBE FRCS FRCOG FRCA FFARCSIHon
  • 1988-90 - Maurice M Burrows FRCA
  • 1990-92 - Peter J F Baskett FRCA MRCP
  • 1992-94 - William R MacRae FRCSEd, FRCA, FFARCSI
  • 1994-96 - S Morrell Lyons OBE MD FRCA FFARCSI
  • 1996-98 - W Leslie M Baird FRCA FRCP (Glasg)
  • 1998-00 - Maldwyn Morgan MB BS DA FRCA
  • 2000-02 - Professor Leo Strunin FRCA FRCPC
  • 2002-04 - Dr Peter G M Wallace FRCA FRCP (Glasg)
  • 2004-06 - Professor Mike Harmer MD FRCA FCARCSI (Hon)
  • 2006-08 - Dr David K Whitaker FRCA FFPMRCA FFICM Hon FCARCSI
  • 2008-10 - Dr Richard J S Birks MB CHB FRCA Hon FCARCSI
  • 2010-12 - Dr Iain H Wilson MB CHB FFARCS
  • 2012-14 - Dr William Harrop-Griffiths
  • 2014-16 - Dr Andrew Hartle
  • 2016-18 - Dr Paul Clyburn
  • 2018-20 - Dr Kathleen Ferguson
  • 2020-present - Dr Mike Nathanson


Honorary Membership

Honorary Membership was instituted in 1932 at the time that the Association was founded. The award is accompanied by a citation and a certificate. The award is usually made at or about the time of retirement from clinical practice.

Sir Ivan Magill Gold Medal

The Sir Ivan Magill Gold Medal "for innovation" was instituted in 1988 to commemorate the centenary of the birth of the pioneer anaesthetist Sir Ivan Magill. It is awarded for uniquely outstanding innovative contributions to the specialty of anaesthesia.

John Snow Silver Medal

The John Snow Silver Medal was instituted in 1946. The first three awards were to anaesthetists who had distinguished themselves and received awards for gallantry in World War II (2 OBEs and an MC). One of these was also the Founder President and a second a distinguished academic anaesthetist.

Pask Certificate of Honour

The Pask Award was instituted in 1977 after the Moorgate Underground disaster. The award was instituted to enable Council to honour those who have rendered distinguished service, either with conspicuous bravery in the face of danger in the performance of their clinical duties, in a single meritorious act or consistently and faithfully over a long period.

Evelyn Baker Medal

The Evelyn Baker medal was instituted in 1998 for outstanding clinical competence, recognising the ‘unsung heroes’ of clinical anaesthesia and related practice. The defining characteristics of clinical competence are deemed to be technical proficiency, consistently reliable clinical judgement and wisdom, and skill in communicating with patients, their relatives and colleagues. The ability to train and enthuse junior colleagues is seen as an integral part of communication skill, extending beyond formal teaching or academic presentation.

Featherstone Certificate

The Featherstone Award was instituted in 2001 in memory of Dr Henry Featherstone, founder of the Association and is made to practicing anaesthetists in acknowledgement of their substantial contribution to the practice of anaesthesia.

Charles King Award

The award was instituted to enable Council to honour those who have rendered significant services to the heritage of anaesthesia in general or to the museum and archives of the Association in particular.

Anniversary Medal

The Anniversary Medal was instituted in 2007 as part of the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Association. The first person to be awarded the Anniversary Medal was Dr Kate Bullen, an SAS anaesthetist.

Editors' Award

The Editors' Award was instituted in 2008 to enable the Council of the Association to honour those who have rendered significant editorial services to the Association and its publications.

Past Vice President Medal

This medal was instituted in 2007 to enable the Council of the Association to honour those who have served on Council as Vice President.

Council Award

The award was instituted to enable the Council of the Association to honour those who have served on the Association Council either as an elected or a co-opted member.

Langton Hewer Award

The award was instituted to enable Council to honour those members of the medical trade who have made significant contributions to anaesthesia or to the Association.

Education and Meetings


Winter Scientific Meeting (WSM)

WSM is the Association's largest annual events. Held in London each year, WSM is the leading anaesthetic meeting in the UK with an attendance of around 800 national and international delegates. The scientific programme is led by high-profile speakers and focuses on current issues in anaesthesia. There is an extensive trade exhibition with around 40 leading companies in anaesthetics attending. WSM is aimed at all levels of anaesthetists from trainees to consultants and is a European CPD accredited meeting.

Trainee Conference

The annual Trainee Conference is the leading trainee scientific meeting in the UK aimed at all levels of trainee anaesthetists from CT1 to ST7. It has an attendance of around 400 delegates each year and gives trainees a great opportunity to network with their colleagues, present their work as an oral presentation or poster and attend hands-on workshops.

Annual Congress

Annual Congress is the flagship event of the Association and is held in various locations around the UK and Ireland. Annual Congress is one of the leading anaesthetic meetings in the UK with an attendance of around 800-1000 national and international delegates. It features informative sessions, high-profile speakers and an extensive trade exhibition with over 40 leading anaesthetics companies attending. Annual Congress is aimed all levels of anaesthetists from trainees to consultants and is a European CPD accredited meeting.


AAGBI offers educational seminars featuring leading experts in the fields of anaesthesia, critical care and pain medicine who present the latest information on a variety of key anaesthesia topics. Seminars are designed to focus on a specific field of interest within anaesthesia and help to build on specialist interests.

Core Topics

Core Topics are one- or two-day conferences organised by the Association at different locations around UK and Ireland allowing delegates the chance to update their knowledge in a cost-effective and convenient way.


Learn@ is an area of the website where members can find educational, learning and CPD resources. They can learn in their own time and keep a record of there completed CPD for use in appraisals and revalidation.

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 centre consists of a museum with a collection of over 4,500 objects dating back to 1774, the Association's own archives, which date back to 1932, and a reference library. The museum is a member of The London Museums of Health & Medicine.


Undergraduate Award

The Wylie Medal is awarded to the most meritorious essay on the topic related to anaesthesia, the topic for the essay question changes year on year. The award is open to undergraduate medical student at a university in Great Britain or Ireland. Prizes of £500, £250 and £150 are awarded to the best three submissions. The overall winners are given the Wylie Medal in memory of Dr W Derek Wylie, President of the Association 1980–82.

SAS Award

The Association invites applications for the SAS Audit Prize and the SAS Research Prize. These are exclusively for SAS doctors to encourage them to undertake audit and research. Entries will be judged by the Research & Grants Committee of the Association. All SAS doctors who are members of the Association are eligible to apply for the prize.


The main aims of the Association's Innovation project are to promote innovation in anaesthesia and intensive care, to help individuals in their 'journey' from the concept to the finished product, to facilitate introduction to the medical equipment manufacturers or relevant organisation, to facilitate testing of new equipment or idea and to facilitate marketing of a new product or an idea. It involves holding workshops/clinics and seminars on the subject, having regular features in Anaesthesia News and the best innovations featured in Anaesthesia and having plenary or satellite sessions during Annual Congress and WSM London.



The Association of Anaesthetists Trainee Committee (formerly known as GAT - Group of Anaesthetists in Training), is a section of the association which represents the interests of trainee anaesthetists across the UK and Ireland. Trainee members account for around one third of the total membership of the association. The Trainee Committee members are elected and has members sitting on the Board of Directors of the Association and representation on many other committees including the Intensive Care Society Trainee Committee and the British Medical Association Junior Doctors Committee.


Staff grade, associate specialist and specialty doctors (SAS) are important members of any department, especially in Anaesthesia, and make an enormous contribution to service work. Doctors enter the SAS grade for many different reasons. Some enter from different training systems as the SAS route provides a means for secure employment; some have child care or family responsibilities and others do not wish to take on the role of consultant with the attendant responsibilities and duties. The Association has grants and prizes designed especially for SAS doctors such as the SAS Audit, Research Prize and the SAS travel grant.


The Association has around 10,000 members, the majority of whom are consultants.


IRC Funding and Travel Grants

The International Relations Committee (IRC) of the Association considers applications for funding for projects usually, but not exclusively, in lower resourced countries

Overseas Funding

The Overseas Anaesthesia Fund (OAF) was launched by the Association in 2006 to enable individuals and organisations to donate directly to Association programmes that support training and promote safer anaesthesia in developing countries. OAF is involved with a variety of projects to support anaesthetists in low- and middle-income countries.

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