Emergency medicine in modern Europe.Emerg Med Australas. 2007 Aug; 19(4):300-2.EM
Emergency medicine in the highly advanced world is traditionally performed in two different ways. The first is the well-known Anglo-American system with skilled EDs, and a pre-hospital emergency medical service utilizing paramedics. The second is the so-called Franco-German system, with a highly developed pre-hospital emergency physician service, but only a basic organization of hospital-based emergency medicine. This gap is now closing fast because of the rapid advancement of hospital-based emergency medicine in Europe. Four criteria might be used to measure this: the recognition as a specialty, the specialist training programme, the professional organization of emergency physicians and the presence of academic centres in Europe. Eleven of the 27 European countries recognize hospital-based emergency medicine as a specialty already. These include Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Other nations are striving to do so, for example Sweden, France, Germany and Greece. There is no doubt that emergency medicine is gaining momentum and other countries will follow. Training for the specialty of emergency medicine is advanced already. Several curricula presently exist in the respective European countries. A task force, governed by the European Society for Emergency Medicine has been working hard to create a model curriculum for all of Europe, which is expected to be published in 2007. This comprises a 5-year specialty training, with three of them spent in an ED. The curriculum follows a symptom-oriented approach to emergency medicine, and includes a skilled description of the key competencies of the future trained emergency physicians. Given the century-long history of the pre-hospital emergency physician service in some European countries, a number of professional bodies exist representing pre-hospital emergency doctors. Within the last few years, ED physicians followed suit forming organizations of their own. In some countries, the next step of amalgamation has occurred, with the merger of EMS and ED emergency physician organizations, although no country has abolished the pre-hospital emergency physician service. The last milestone, the development of academic emergency centres, has only just started. This process will take some time. The present paper describes the present and future of emergency medicine in some European countries using these criteria.