Doctors Direct – Critical Care Medicine updates

ICM specialists (intensivists) are involved in all aspects of care of the critically ill, including providing organ support, investigation, diagnosis and treatment of critical illness, as well as involvement in patient safety, ethics, end-of-life care and support of patients and families.

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) is the professional body responsible for the training, assessment, practice and continuing professional development of intensivists in the UK. Training and certification in ICM was previously only possible in the UK in conjunction with a primary ‘base’ complementary specialty (usually anaesthesia or respiratory medicine) as part of a joint training programme, however, a standalone training programme in intensive care medicine now exists. Trainees can enter ICM training through a number of routes, and although the standalone programme exists, the majority still elect to train in two complementary specialties (i.e. anaesthesia, emergency medicine, respiratory medicine etc) through a GMC-approved dual training programme. Details of training and examinations in ICM are found on the FICM website.

Obtaining recognition for non-FICM ICM training (in order to be entered on the GMC specialist register as an intensivist) presents some challenges. Unlike other specialties, there is no reciprocal agreement for specialist recognition in ICM training in other countries and therefore there is no automatic recognition of previous ICM training/experience. Here a doctor has to demonstrate written, certified evidence of equivalence of ICM training to the GMC through a formal, complex process (CESR). Doctors are best advised to seek support in their application for equivalence, and applications should be made directly through the GMC.


Useful links:


European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM): European congress, Certification, Journal (Intensive Care Medicine)

Intensive Care Society (ICS): UK Intensivist Society:  national training days, annual State of the Art meeting, Journal, (JICS)


Author: Dr Susanna Price, Consultant Cardiologist and Intensivist, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust

About the author

NHS Professionals administrator

NHS Professionals manages the temporary staffing needs of around 66 NHS Trusts across England. An integral part of the NHS, it aims to reduce Trusts’ spending on flexible workers without compromising quality, by providing greater transparency of demand and supplying bank staff at the best possible rate. Its bank of more than 40,000 flexible workers comprises general and specialist nurses, doctors, midwives, admin/clerical , allied health professionals, healthcare scientists, support services among other healthcare professionals.

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