Training and Curricula

Pain Medicine training is part of the CCT in Anaesthetics

There are modules for Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3 Pain Training, which all anaesthetists undertake. Beyond this there are modules for Stage 3 Special Interest Area (SIA) Pain Training, which are undertaken by Pain Medicine specialists.

Acute pain and some chronic pain are included in the Stage 1 capabilities of the Anaesthetics curriculum. Specialist pain training in the UK now consists of 20 half-day sessions from CT1 to ST5 and a four to 12-week block in Stage 3 Pain Training; this is compulsory for all anaesthetists. This may be followed by a 6 month Stage 3 SIA in Acute Inpatient Pain or a 12 month Stage 3 SIA in Pain Medicine.

For further information on the 2021 Anaesthetic curriculum click here.

The Faculty has produced guidance for pain training in the 2021 curriculum which can be viewed here

Pain Medicine training pathway

Click below to find more information on each of the different stages of pain training.

Stages of training

This is a compulsory area of training during the early stages of the Anaesthetic CCT. The aims are to ensure trainees are competent in the assessment and effective management and of acute post-operative and acute non post-operative pain. They should also have the necessary knowledge to provide a basic understanding of the management of chronic pain in adults.

This is also another compulsory area of training in the Anaesthetic CCT and aims to build on the competencies gained during Stage 1 Pain Training. The trainees should become fully competent in the assessment and management of acute surgical, non-surgical and acute on chronic pain in most patient groups and in most circumstances. Trainees should have a knowledge of the assessment, management and wider treatment for chronic and cancer pain patients as well as the need for multi-professional input in such cases. Trainees should also be an effective member of the acute pain team.

Please click here for the Stage 2 Training in Pain Medicine leaflet.

A guide for trainers providing Intermediate Training can be found here.

Read about Stage 3 Pain Training here.

Read about Stage 3 SIA Pain Training here.

Read about Paediatric Pain training and retraining here.

Applications for Out of Programme Training should be undertaken using this form and discussed at the earliest opportunity with your local trainers and the Regional Advisor in Pain Medicine.

Trainees who are planning to undertake training in pain medicine in an overseas post are strongly advised to seek advice from their Regional Advisors in both Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at an early stage. At present it is likely that overseas training would still count towards Stage 3 and Stage 3 SIA Pain Training but it is absolutely essential that:

  • prospective approval is obtained;
  • a detailed logbook and portfolio is kept during the overseas period;
  • verification that the training has been completed successfully is obtained from the Head of Department in the overseas institution; and 
  • certification of competency to the standard of advanced pain training is obtained from the Regional Advisor in Pain Medicine in the UK.

Overseas training will be assessed against the criteria for outcomes based training as described in the CCT Training Documents. The criteria for outcomes based training are the same irrespective of where training is undertaken.

Do you have to do Stage 3 and Stage 3 SIA level training?

Stage 3 Pain Medicine training may be a standalone optional experience for those wanting a career as part of an acute/inpatient Pain Medicine team. Trainees embarking on a Pain Medicine career with substantial commitment undertake an advanced year and usually spend this in a single tertiary pain centre, or a number of units each with differing educational opportunities. During this, training experience is gained in consultation skills, pain procedures and learning how to manage a clinic.

What exposure is there to other specialties?

All Stage 3 SIA trainees are encouraged to spend time in clinics with other allied specialties, for example rheumatology or neurosurgery, gaining insight into diagnosis and management in these respective specialties. We are also given the freedom to develop ‘special interests’ in pain medicine from ‘dropdown’ parts of the Stage 3 SIA Pain Medicine curriculum in paediatric Pain Medicine, cancer Pain Medicine and spinal cord stimulation.


The FFPMRCA exam was established in 2012 covering both practical clinical knowledge and knowledge of relevant sciences. It is similar in structure to the final FRCA with an initial written exam consisting of MTF (multiple true/false), SBA (single best answer) and EMQ (extended matching questions). If that is passed, it is followed by two structured oral examinations: one clinical and one on relevant basic sciences. The aim of the examination is to enhance the practice of Pain Medicine in the UK and ultimately benefit patient care.

Having completed this new robust training scheme, pain trainees are entering into the ever changing and expanding field of Pain Medicine practice.

Further Reading

Are you currently undertaking pain training?
Register with the Faculty to receive additional updates and connect with your fellow trainees!