Consultants in Emergency Medicine (EM) in Ireland regularly act as the Emergency Physician in Charge (EPIC) as a core part of the role. Consultants are the clinical leaders of multidisciplinary teams, including nurses, advanced nurse practitioners, doctors in training, clinical specialist physiotherapists, healthcare assistants, porters, radiographers and others, to achieve optimal patient outcomes.
Other aspects of the work, reflecting the subspecialty interests of individual consultants, may include preferentially practising in the areas of paediatric, geriatric, prehospital, sports or community emergency medicine, training other staff through simulation of emergencies, the use of point-of-care ultrasound, regional nerve blockade and other aspects of the broad range of skills and practice used by a trained emergency medicine consultant in the 21st Century. Several consultants in emergency medicine also hold roles as clinical directors and are involved in risk mitigation and quality improvement initiatives and the current implementation of trauma networks in Ireland.
There are 28 emergency departments in Ireland’s public healthcare system, two of which are Dublin based, treating children only, seven of which treat only patients over 16 years of age and 19 of which treat patients of all ages. Several EDs also provide short-stay inpatient care in clinical decision units and consultant oversight to linked units that are open from 8 am to 8 pm, such as injury units, of which there are eleven in Ireland. Care at EDs in public hospitals is available to everyone and priority for care is based on clinical need alone.
Fellowship of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) is the exit exam required to complete advanced speciality training in emergency medicine in Ireland. Successful completion of this exam, or an equivalent qualification and period of training, e.g., Fellowship of the Australasian College of EM (FACEM), is required to achieve specialist registration, eligibility for which is essential for appointment to a substantive post as a consultant in EM.
The central role of the consultant in emergency medicine in the delivery of emergency healthcare in Ireland is now well recognised and established. The Minister for Health has recently approved funding for a further 51 posts of consultant in emergency medicine, an uplift of more than 40% in current numbers.
Ireland has been a full member of the International Federation of Emergency Medicine since 1991. EM in mainland Europe is developing rapidly and the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine (IAEM) contributes to the activities of the European Society for Emergency Medicine (EuSEM) and Union Européenne des Médecins Spécialistes (UEMS).
Further information about the Emergency Medicine community is available at iaem.ie.