It is well documented that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on doctors in training. Much of novice anaesthetists’ training is delivered during high turnover, elective theatre lists of low-risk patients 
. List cancellations and staff redeployment have significantly reduced these opportunities 
. In our department, amendments to standard operating procedures within theatres have created further training barriers. Supervisors find it challenging to offer anything more removed than direct supervision due to difficulties accessing the clinical environment in emergencies. These constraints drove us to find alternative methods of providing this practical experience.
The aim of the study was to create a trust-wide high-fidelity simulation course for novice anaesthetists, focussing on confidence building and preparation for on-calls, together with clinical and non-technical management of specific anaesthetic complications.
A pre-course questionnaire aided a learning needs analysis and informed the learning objectives. Poor confidence due to lack of training was a common theme. Issues identified included limited case numbers, exposure to common emergencies and difficulty progressing to more distant supervision. Using a standardized scenario authoring platform (IRIS) we collaborated with a multi-professional faculty group to design a 1-day simulation course. To ensure an authentic learner experience, scenarios were designed for delivery in a high-fidelity simulation suite using Laerdal SimMan3G with LEAP software. Familiar clinical equipment, such as a Datex Ohmeda anaesthetic machine, was used and access to typical cognitive aids provided to mirror a real theatre environment.
Initially, participants prepared for an anaesthetic induction following standard operating procedures, including performing the World Health Organisation Surgical Safety Checklist. They then carried out this uncomplicated induction with the assistance of a trained Operating Department Practitioner. This aided in embedding good clinical practice and promoted patient safety. A second scenario followed, during which an emergency unfolded. The group observed each scenario through a video link and contributed to a consultant-led debrief. To assess course impact participants completed post-course questionnaires. Confidence universally improved after the course. Every attendee found the course useful and was highly likely to recommend it to a colleague. For several participants, this provided their first experience carrying out an emergency anaesthetic induction without direct supervision. In this setting, simulation has been used as a valuable tool to supplement clinical exposure where there were significant barriers to traditional training methods. We intend to further develop this course to become an integral part of novice anaesthetic training within our trust.