Accident and Emergency Medicine

General description of the work of a Consultant in Accident and Emergency

The Consultant in Accident and Emergency is the Consultant in charge of the Accident and Emergency Department (also known as the Emergency Department). He/she is involved in the immediate care of patients presenting with trauma related injuries as well as patients suddenly unwell for any reason brought directly to the hospital.
Much of his/her work will involve the management of minor trauma such as cuts, abrasions, lacerations, soft tissue injuries and bruising. He/she will be involved in the initial diagnosis and management of fractures, head injuries, burns as well as victims of more serious trauma such as road traffic accidents and assaults. On the medical side, he/she will be involved in the initial diagnosis and management of patients presenting to the Accident and Emergency Department with conditions such as heart attacks (myocardial infarctions), asthma attacks, meningitis and strokes.

Most common clinical areas / procedures leading to a claim of clinical negligence

  • missed fractures
  • missed foreign bodies left in wounds
  • missed intracranial bleeding (sub–dural haematoma)
  • the management of acute asthma
  • missed myocardial infarction

Sub–Specialities / Alternative and Additional job titles

The Consultant in Accident and Emergency may be known a Casualty Consultant or Consultant in Emergency Medicine.
Some Consultants in Accident and Emergency have come from a background in Orthopaedics. In Children’s Hospitals the Accident and Emergency Department is normally run by a Consultant from a Paediatric background.

Usual Qualifications

The Consultant In Accident and Emergency will usually have FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons) after his name, as well as FFAEM (Fellow of the Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine).

Academic Appointments

The Consultant In Accident and Emergency may be a Lecturer or Professor in Emergency Medicine at a Medical School. He/She may be an Examiner for one of the Royal College of Surgeons.