Traditionally, Scandinavian anaesthesiologists have had a very broad scope of practice, involving intensive care, pain and emergency medicine. European changes in the different medical fields and the constant reorganising of health care may alter this. Therefore, the Board of the Scandinavian Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (SSAI) decided to produce a Position Paper on the future of the speciality in Scandinavia. The training in the various Scandinavian countries is very similar and provides a stable foundation for the speciality. The Scandinavian practice in anaesthesia and intensive care is based on a team model where the anaesthesiologists work together with highly educated nurses and should remain like this. However, SSAI thinks that the role of the anaesthesiologists as perioperative physicians is not fully developed. There is an obvious need and desire for further training of specialists. The SSAI advanced educational programmes for specialists should be expanded and include formal assessment leading to a particular medical competency as defined by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS). In this way, Scandinavian anaesthesiologists will remain leaders in perioperative, intensive care, pain and critical emergency medicine.