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Intensive Care Medicine Training 

Image of an anaesthetist performing a regional anaesthetic nerve blockIntensive Care Medicine (ICM) is an exciting and dynamic specialty with the responsibility for caring for the most critically ill patients in hospital. While other medical specialties deal exclusively with specific organs or body systems, ICM encompasses the entire spectrum of medical and surgical pathology. An ICM doctor is able to provide advanced organ support during critical illness and is responsible for coordinating the care of patients on the ICU. ICM is high-tech, life-saving care that underpins and interacts with all other areas of the hospital.

It is now possible to train exclusively in ICM in addition to combining it with another specialty.

Training is co-ordinated by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM). There is up-to-date information on training at the Faculty of Intensive Care website.

The Wessex Intensive Care Society website is a good resource for trainees.

Single Intensive Care Medicine Programme

The single specialty CCT programme for training in ICM was approved by the Specialist Training Authority in 2011. For the first time it is now possible to train exclusively in ICM in addition to combining it with another specialty. Recruitment will be by competitive national interviews run by the West Midlands Deanery. Please note that applications are to Health Education Wessex as a whole. This may mean that you may be allocated to any geographic location within Wessex, depending on training needs.

The ICM training programme runs from ST3 to ST7 and consists of three stages of training. Entrance to ST3 is from a number of defined core training routes. You will need to have completed one of the core training programmes in addition to your Foundation years, that is Acute Care Common Stem, Core Anaesthetic Training, Core Medical Training. From these you will need to have obtained one of the following:

  • FFICM (Primary) in development
  • FRCA (Primary)
  • MRCP UK (full)
  • MCEM (full)


Download the programme description of the new Single Intensive Care Medicine Programme (Word) and the CCT in ICM Portfolio guide (Word).

Dual CCT Training Programme

Prior to the introduction of single CCT ICM training, doctors training in ICM would do so in conjunction with a parent specialty. While this is no longer necessary, you may wish to undertake a Dual CCT programme leading to a qualification in both ICM and a partner specialty. Dual CCT programmes will inevitably extend your training; the length will depend on your previous experience and chosen partner specialty, though eight and a half years is the common indicative minimum duration.

Application to the partner specialty is through competitive national interviews. Dual programmes are available in Acute Medicine, Anaesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Renal Medicine and Respiratory Medicine.

Competencies for ICM within the Anaesthetic Curriculum

All competencies can be found on the RCoA website under the training section. Trainees who have commenced training after August 2007, and their supervisors, should use the following new assessment tools to assess progress:

  • Mini Clinical Evaluation Exercise (Mini-CEX)
  • Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (DOPS)
  • Case-based Discussion (CBD)
  • Multi-source Feedback (MSF).


Competency Requirements 

The Faculty of Intensive Care has made the following recommendations for minimum numbers of competencies.

Competencies for Preliminary Training (Basic Level – CT1/2):

Assessment Required number
Mini-CEX 2




Competencies for Core Training (Intermediate Level – ST3/4):

Assessment Required number
Mini-CEX 2


Expanded Case Summaries 10


Competencies for Enhanced Training (Advanced Level – ST5+):

Assessment Required number
Mini-CEX 2



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