Specialty training and regulation in the European Union
Medical specialties are represented at European level within the Union by the non-statutory body called the Union Européen des Médecins Spécialistes (UEMS), which is recognized by the EU as the relevant body for harmonizing training and quality assurance. Officially it reports to the ACMT (the advisory committee on medical training) both directly and is in contact with the European Parliament, the Commission, and the Standing Committee on European Doctors (CPME).
The UEMS has three branches: the Council, the national medical associations, the EACCME, and the specialty sections and boards. Each section is composed of national representatives drawn from universities and professional organizations from each member country. According to current UEMS rules, a medical discipline has the right to create a section if it is recognized as a specialty in more than one third of EU member states and is in the list of the official journal of the European Commission.
Each section can create a speciality Board, which is a working group, and which is composed of members of the section and of the scientific societies in the field. The Boards provide educational credits, harmonise training, and foster quality in medical education through visiting programmes.
The position of intensive care medicine in the European Region
Across the European region, the most common model for ICM is as a multidisciplinary ‘supra-specialty’ with a common training programme for trainees from different base disciplines; it is also recognized as a primary speciality, a multiple subspeciality, and in particular a subspeciality of anaesthesia; several countries have more than one model. Intensive care medicine cannot therefore be accommodated formally as a Section in the UEMS because of this diversity of national specialty structures. The UEMS therefore created a Multidisciplinary Joint Committee for Intensive Care Medicine (MJCICM) to represent this discipline.
Establishing a European Board for ICM (EBICM)
In order to facilitate the harmonization of training in ICM across Europe, the UEMS created a specialty Board for ICM, with representatives drawn equally from the Multidisciplinary Joint Committee for Intensive Care Medicine (MJCICM) and from the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM). The Board can thus accommodate all current national models of training (supraspeciality, primary speciality, and subspeciality). The MJCICM will act as an executive committee for the Board, and provide a conduit for the Board to report to the council of the UEMS. All members of the Board will have a vote.
Different training regimes in Europe (2009).
From: The Cobatrice Collaboration. The educational environment for training in intensive care medicine: structures,
processes, outcomes and challenges in the European region. Intensive Care Medicine 2009:35; 1575-83.
Minimum period of training (2005).
From: Barrett H Bion JF. An international survey of training in adult intensive care medicine. Intensive Care Medicine. 2005; 31;553.