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Why do you have to be a specialist to give an anaesthetic?

Personally, I think that with the right training program, and a highly intelligent, aware, and motivated individual, you could train somebody to give anaesthetics in one year.

Most of the anaesthetics that they provide would go well, the surgery or procedure will be completed effectively, and the patient would be fine.

However, more people would die, and many of these deaths would be considered avoidable.  Some deaths would occur during what are considered to be straightforward procedures, such as gastroscopies or colonoscopies.

Also, more people would have anaesthetic complications, and many of these complications would be considered avoidable.

In the developing world, many people who give anaesthetics are not specialists, and are often not even doctors.  Patients need their surgery, and the country does not have the ability to provide enough anaesthetists, and so this is what happens.  Most patients do well, but some die from anaesthetic complications, and these deaths would often be considered to be almost completely avoidable in Australia, even when the restricted access to equipment and monitoring is taken into account.

In Australia we do not accept this decreased level of safety as a trade-off for the reduced initial costs of having a less qualified person administering anaesthesia.  Therefore, in most circumstances in Australia, anaesthesia is administered by a specialist anaesthetist.