PDIP Regional Anaesthesia

"The research, leadership skills and knowledge attained in the course has really boosted my CV and increased my chances of getting a good consultant post."

In their words

Dr Maria Chazapis

Key facts

(REF 2014)

Regional anaesthesia is both incredibly specialised and highly skilled. Offering the highest worldwide qualification in the subject, our course will enable you to become a true expert in the field.

Our innovative and award-winning distance-learning course will fit around your busy timetable and is ideal for anaesthetists both in and out of training. Our guiding aim is to advance standards in regional anaesthesia and acute pain management, both in the UK and overseas.

The Principles of Regional Anaesthesia programme has been developed over a seven-year period with the support of several major anaesthetic organisations. These include the Regional Anaesthesia United Kingdom (RA-UK) and the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia (ESRA).


Delivered online, this course is designed for busy anaesthetists working full or part-time in the NHS or an equivalent health service. Our innovative educational approach saw us win an award for best online learning programme in 2013.  You can expect a challenging but highly rewarding educational experience, featuring problem-based learning scenarios based on realistic case studies. Within weeks of starting, you’ll be able to apply your new knowledge and skills to your working practice.

This course offers qualified anaesthetists based anywhere in the world a flexible way to gain formal postgraduate qualification in Regional Anaesthesia. A fully participative programme, each weekly session will be tutor-led but peer-driven. You’ll collaborate with your fellow students to consider and work through our case scenarios, and through this you’ll develop consultant-level critical thinking and knowledge.

Delivered entirely online, the course will provide you with a robust and complete educational experience, with no requirements to travel outside your country of residence in order to complete it. Accredited modules will include online formative and summative assessments, and can build towards a PG Certificate, PG Diploma or Master’s (DM) qualification.

During the course you will delve deep into the most up-to-date anatomical and neurophysiological research underpinning current thinking in regional anaesthesia. You’ll learn about the different factors that go into optimising the quality of regional anaesthesia in the heterogenic patient population, which anaesthetists face on a daily basis. We’ll also teach you how to write and conduct research – and how to introduce and manage regional anaesthesia services at the institution where you work.

A unique element of our course is that you can determine your own study timetable, based around each two-week topic.

Course Structure

Our flexible training approach will allow you to determine your direction of study, based on the level of formal regional anaesthesia qualification that you wish to achieve.  The course is made up of six standalone modules which can be taken in any order, as and when they are running during the year. Additionally, as you are not required to register for a certificate, diploma or degree – you can simply elect to study a single module if you wish.

Successfully complete three modules (there are two configurations to choose from) and should you not wish to study further, you can qualify for a Postgraduate Certificate.

Complete all six modules and you can qualify for a Postgraduate Diploma. Continue on to your dissertation however and you’ll graduate with a Master’s level degree (see below).

The six modules are as follows:

Anatomy and applied anatomy applicable to regional anaesthesia (20 credits):

  • Topic 1: Awake Shoulder Surgery
  • Topic 2: Elbow Replacement Surgery
  • Topic 3: Complex Dupuytren's Release
  • Topic 4: Mastectomy
  • Topic 5: Revision Hip Arthroplasty with Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Topic 6: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Repair - The Knee and Below
  • Topic 7: Complicated Patients - Abdominal Surgery
  • Topic 8: The Cervical Plexus and More

Neuropharmacology / physiology of perioperative pain medicine (20 credits)

  • Topic 1: Mechanisms of Normal Pain and Nociception
  • Topic 2: Blocking Peripheral Pain
  • Topic 3: Toxicity of Local Anaesthesia Drugs
  • Topic 4: Nerve Injury Following Regional Anaesthesia
  • Topic 5: Complex and Neuropathic Pain
  • Topic 6: Amputation and CRPS
  • Topic 7: Multimodal Enhanced Recovery
  • Topic 8: Strategies to Improve Survival
  • Clinical Leadership, Management and Service Delivery in Regional Anaesthesia (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Medical Leadership
  • Personal Qualities & Working with Others
  • Managing People & Resources
  • Patient Safety
  • Quality
  • The Wider Context of Medical Leadership
  • Dissertation

Situational and Specific Application of Regional Anaesthesia (20 credits)

  • Topic 1: Landmarks and PNS, Fascia Iliaca Blocks
  • Topic 2: Ultrasound Principles and Needle Technology
  • Topic 3: Catheters
  • Topic 4: Training and Assessment
  • Topic 5: Safety and Sterility
  • Topic 6: Choosing the Appropriate Block
  • Topic 7: Special Considerations: Anticoagulation
  • Topic 8: Managing the Blocked Patient

Regional anaesthesia in special situations and circumstances (20 credits)

  • Topic 1: Elderly
  • Topic 2: Pregnancy
  • Topic 3: Paediatrics
  • Topic 4: Paravertebral Blockade Breast Surgery, Cancer and Palliative Care
  • Topic 5: Neuromuscular Conditions and RA
  • Topic 6: Opthalmic Blocks
  • Topic 7: Outcomes Following Regional Anaesthesia
  • Topic 8: Quadratus Lumborum, Modern Blocks and Blocks used in Trauma

Research Methodology Applicable to Regional Anaesthesia (20 credits)

  • Module leads: TBA
  • Audit and Quantitative Research
  • Service Evaluation and Qualitative Research
  • Drafting a Protocol
  • Ethics and Consent
  • Statistics
  • Research Governance
  • Conduct of Research
  • Master’s degree in Regional Anaesthesia

Should you wish to achieve a Master’s qualification, you will spend a year researching and writing your dissertation paper. Through this, you will need to illustrate the depth of knowledge that you have developed throughout your time spent studying our taught modules.

We encourage all students to consider their dissertation work for publication, either through the university or in an academic journal.

Teaching and Learning

Our course faculty is made up entirely of practicing anaesthetists, many of who are national and international experts. They will act as facilitators during the online discussions to help guide your learning.

During the modules, you will be formatively assessed through a combination of reading, online discussion and exercises designed to develop critical thinking.

Each topic lasts two weeks. In the introductory week of each topic you will be provided with background reading and a standard clinical case. You’ll then discuss the case and the reading with your peer group and expert faculty members. All of which will prepare you for the second week, when you will examine a more challenging case. 

You’ll need to fully engage in each topic in order to succeed. We expect students to contribute to forum discussions with at least one post, however most of our students are far more prolific, having absorbed an incredible amount from the information brought to bear on each of the clinical cases that we discuss.


Each clinical module will be formally assessed with a reflective written piece, which will be submitted online and marked according to the University’s assessment procedures.

The two non-clinical modules – Leadership and Research – will be assessed through the submission of a business case and research protocol, respectively. 

If you choose to progress onto the third and final year, you’ll need to submit a research or quality improvement dissertation, which we’ll use to assess your expertise in regional anaesthesia.

Optional Study abroad or Placement Year


After the course

Whether you train with us for one module or for a full academic qualification, you’ll obtain recognised and respected university qualifications, which will support and promote your expertise and development in this competitive specialist field.

Past students have cited our courses as helping them progress to more senior positions. In particular, students report greater confidence and influence with peers and senior colleagues.

Whether you are an existing consultant or a more junior professional, we expect that this course will stretch and challenge you in positive ways to significantly boost your knowledge in the field of RA and essentially promote your decision-making and critical thinking. Ultimately these are career-boosting skills that have helped previous students when dealing with senior colleagues and when seeking more senior positions within the profession.

Career destinations

Substantive anaesthetist with subspecialist interest in regional anaesthesia

Departmental lead for regional anaesthesia

Faculty member for regional anaesthesia courses including the MSc

Further study such as PhD in regional anaesthesia* or specialist fellowships

National representation on specialist committees (e.g. RAUK board)

Course related costs


Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 40 credits:

Name Code Credits


How can you ensure that your regional anaesthesia techniques are successful and safe? By developing a detailed knowledge of anatomy! Throughout the module you will undertake a deep exploration of the key concept underpinning regional anaesthesia - anatomy. You will explore micro- and macro-anatomy throughout the body, with focus on key regional block areas, and commonly encountered surgical territories. You will research how specific block techniques were explored and developed, from an anatomical perspective. You will also seek to apply this extensive anatomical knowledge to solving clinical conundrums, equipping you with a sound basis on which to expand your clinical work. You will begin by exploring the proximal brachial plexus, with a focus on awake procedural techniques and how to achieve this. Throughout subsequent weeks the focus will progress down the brachial plexus and arm simultaneously, exploring periclavicular blocks and elbow procedures, leading to axillary / distal techniques and hand surgery. You will then consider techniques for providing anaesthesia / analgesia to the thorax and breast, including novel developments and combination blocks for awake breast surgery / rib fracture management. Subsequent weeks will progress through lumbar and sacral plexus anatomy, linking in with hip, knee and foot procedures. To conclude, you will re-ignite your knowledge of the vertebral canal, hopefully with a new 'slant', before returning to the neck and cervical plexus. As the module draws to a close, you will have numerous complex scenarios in which you can apply your knowledge, by way of revision forums.




At the end of this module the MSc Regional Anaesthesia Candidate should be able to: Demonstrate and apply a detailed understanding of the neurophysiological and neuropharmacological mechanisms involved in normal nociception, visceral nociception and neuropathic pain. Consequently, the candidate will be able to critically appraise the likely mechanisms contributing to peri-operative pain and synthesise management strategies based upon current and novel anaesthetic and analgesic agents available (or potentially available) for use in perioperative pain management.



Students must study the following modules for 60 credits:

Name Code Credits

Regional Anaesthesia in Specific Situations and Circumstances

Gain an understanding of RA in special circumstances or sub-specialities. Also examine in greater detail how increase knowledge influences outcome measures in RA. Look at future developments in RA The specific outcomes are in: Paediatrics: Studying the difference between adults and children for RA. Studying dose, duration and actions of local anaesthetics in small children and the use of LA adjuvants drugs. In depth studies on blocks such as the Ilio-inguinal, penile and central neuraxial blocks, to name a few important blocks in children. Pregnancy: Study the use of epidurals in labour, technique differences, ultrasound placement, infusions versus boluses and the use of patient controlled epidural infusions in labour. Study how local anaesthetics agents affect the foetus. The placental barrier and protein binding in pregnancy of LA drugs. Role of pudendal blocks in labour. Elderly: Physiological reserve and RA techniques in the elderly for central neuraxial blocks, brachial plexus blocks (affecting the phrenic nerve), pharmacokinetics and dynamics of LA agents and pain perception in the elderly Pathological situations: Blocks used in treating cancer pain, or chronic pain situations (nerve root and intra-articular vertebral blocks)



Research Methodology in Regional Anaesthesia

By the end of this module you will be able to understand the difference between audit and research. Be able to conduct an audit and complete the cycle. Be able to initiate a research project from early stages of idea proposal, protocol writing, IRAS form completion, gaining necessary ethics approval and preparing the required paperwork (participant invitation, informed consent, letters to GPs etc.). Be able to critically appraise a study, have a good knowledge of research governance and lastly, have an adequate knowledge of basic statistic methods used for clinical trials.




By the end of this module on the technical aspects of RA, the student should have insight into the following aspects of RA: 1.Which block for what surgery, where and why? 2.Ultrasound - physical principles, sono-anatomy, awareness of Ultrasound artifacts and their uses and the application of US in regional anaesthesia 3.Needle design 4.Use of catheters for prolonging blocks and catheter management 5.Safety, safe practice of RA 6.Sterility 7.Assessment tools for good RA practice 8.Future advances in RA (3D and 4D U/Sd)



Students must study the following modules for 20 credits:

Name Code Credits

Clinical Leadership, Management and Service Delivery in Regional Anaesthesia

The module is aimed to develop clinical leadership and management skills for the candidate




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject MBBS or overseas equivalent
  • Degree Classification Pass, Merit or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements GMC accredited, Post FRCA (or the equivalent), ST2 and Career Grade Doctors with 2 yrs experience or Consultant Anaesthetists.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English or those whose degree was not taught in English. To ensure such students benefit fully from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. We also will require a certain standard to be achieved on the written element of the test. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 7.0 in all component)
  • PTE: 68 (minimum 68 in all components)

All scores must be less than two years old.


The next intake starts in January 2019. There is no September intake to this course.

Fees and Funding

Fees for the full course running from Jan 2018 will be:

  • UK/EU Students: £6,000
  • Overseas Students: £9,865

Fees for the full course running from Jan 2019 will be:

  • UK/EU Students: £6,200
  • Overseas Students: £10,534

Part-time students can pay per module studied. However, module fees may be subject to an annual increase.

How to Apply

Please note that the course is currently undertaking a 5-year review which, subject to approval, would lead to significant enhancements and innovations to what is already a world-leading course. The course will open to applications for entry in January 2019 once the review has been completed later this year.

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online, or by downloading the application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515