Education and training

Intensive care units provide a considerable amount of training for medical, nursing and allied health professional staff, including:

  • medical and nursing staff specialising in intensive care
  • the many specialties that require their trainees to obtain intensive care experience (eg acute medicine, anaesthesia, respiratory medicine, surgery)
  • the wider hospital staff outside the intensive care unit in areas such as advanced life support, practical procedures (eg central venous cannulation) and recognition of seriously ill patients (eg ALERT course).

Training of intensive care consultants is defined by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) and follows a competency-based curriculum, which was updated in 2015. Since 2012, training may be undertaken to obtain a single CCT in intensive care medicine in addition to the traditional route of combining intensive care with a ‘parent’ specialty. Entry to the standalone CCT programme occurs after completing core training in anaesthesia, medicine or acute care common stem. Training to obtain dual CCTs combines intensive care training with acute medicine, anaesthesia, emergency medicine, renal medicine or respiratory medicine. Trainees must successfully complete an examination (Fellowship of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, FFICM) before entering the final stages of training (step 3). The overall duration of specialist training is at least 7 years.

Guidance on CPD and revalidation is provided by the FICM. Clinicians who continue to practice in a partner specialty need to meet the requirements of both specialties. Continuing education is provided by local and regional intensive care groups. There are established regional networks of intensive care units and many provide educational meetings for CPD. The Intensive Care Society (ICS) organises numerous one-day meetings, practical workshops and an annual international conference.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) has produced a cost of training document setting out the mandatory costs of training involved in college enrolment fees, examination costs and GMC fees. Published in October 2017, it has been compiled to help pre-specialty doctors make fully informed career selections, with a clear understanding of the mandatory costs of their future training pathway.