What is ACCS?

ACCS is short for Acute Care Common Stem.  It is the post graduate training scheme for doctors who want to become emergency physicians, or anaesthetists (there are a couple of acute medics and intensivists too, but they are hopelessly outnumbered).

The doctors eligible to do ACCS are postgraduate year 3.  It’s a 3 year training scheme that takes a junior doctor through placements in acute medicine, emergency medicine, anaesthetics and ICU.  Doctors who finish are eligible for higher training in their chosen specialty.

It is 3 years long, and it’s pretty tough on the people that put themselves through it, especially the ED trainees.  The process of training ED docs is wasteful, as 50% of trainees exit the programme and leave emergency medicine in some way or other before finishing ACCS.

ED and anaesthetic trainees have a large curriculum to work through.  They need to get many many assessments performed by their supervising consultants (who occupy a gaussian distribution on the ‘bothered’ scale).  They also have to pass an exam, which in many centres, because of service provision pressures, they cannot take leave to study for (and sometimes even go to).  Not to mention gaining the experience required to be a competent doctor in their chosen field.

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