Acute Medicine

takeAIM - Why we love Acute Internal Medicine


A Career in Acute Medicine 

  • Acute Internal Medicine (AIM) is the fastest growing medical specialty in the UK.
  • AIM focuses on the care of adult medical patients from hospital admission up to 72 hours of their stay.
  • It is a hospital specialty dedicated to the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of adults with urgent medical needs.
  • Acute Medical care is multi-faceted including looking after acute unwell patients on the Acute Medicine Unit (AMU), Medical Short Stay wards, Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC) as well as Emergency Department in-reach.
  • This can involve the care for a broad range of patients from the acutely unwell within monitored areas to well patients in Ambulatory Care Areas. 
  • The presence of Acute Physicians in hospitals with unscheduled care has been shown to reduce mortality and length of hospital stay without increasing readmission rates.
  • With a drive towards consultant led acute services 7 days a week there will be an increasing number of Acute Physicians delivering high quality care at the front door.
  • Working evenings and weekends will mean compensatory days off in the week.
  • The number of conditions managed by Ambulatory care will increase as will the number of complex medical admissions, thus the skills of an Acute Physician will continue to be in high demand.


Desirable Qualities

  • Enjoyment of a wide range of medical problems
  • Problem-solving, ability to think on your feet
  • Desire to manage acutely unwell patients
  • Ability to interface with other specialties
  • Good team-working and communication skills with patients, carers and the multidisciplinary team
  • Leadership qualities and a desire to innovate are desirable



Career path

You can enter Acute Medicine Training via several routes

  • Internal Medical Training (IMT) – 2 years
  • Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) – 3 years


You will need to complete your IMT3/ST3 year and, similar to all medical specialties, successfully complete the MRCP(UK) Examination. Following this you will be eligible to apply for Acute (Internal) Medicine training and enter at ST4 level.

At the end of training trainees will receive a Certificate of Completion of Training in both Acute Internal Medicine and General Internal Medicine.



The Acute Internal Medicine Curriculum

The AIM curriculum (2009), in conjunction with the 2009 General Internal Medicine curriculum allows trainees to achieve a joint CCT in both General Internal Medicine and Acute Internal Medicine.

The new AIM curriculum defines the need to demonstrate maturation of the trainee's competencies through the duration of training. The trainee builds on these core competencies, as they acquire skills in the treatment and management of complex acute medical problems in the in-patient setting and also acquire advanced practical skills that are directly relevant to the practice of AIM.


Furthermore, the specific management, organisational and leadership competencies for the Acute Physician are defined, including the need to review patient pathways and to develop different management strategies for acute medical problems including the development and implementation of ambulatory care protocols.


The Acute Medicine Curriculum is currently in the process of being reviewed and due to be published shortly (the draft is available here).



Acute Internal Medicine Training in the West Midlands


There are a wide variety of centres offering a broad set of specialist skills

  • Multiple opportunities for regional trainee-led research collaborative - The West Midlands Acute Medicine Collaborative
  • Monthly training days are organised by trainees at the base hospitals allowing a bespoke training experience mapped to the Acute Medicine Curriculum
  • Regular social events


During your 4 years of training you will rotate through 4 different hospitals, and requests for specific sites will always be taken into consideration. All placements are primarily based on the Acute Medical Unit of that hospital.

In each year you will complete one four-month placement in one of the four core specialties – cardiology, geriatrics, intensive care and respiratory medicine.

All trainees will train in ultrasound, achieving FAMUS (Focused Acute Medicine Ultrasound) accreditation.

All trainees will also train in a Special Skill (see JRCPTB for full list of options). Consultants within the West Midlands have a broad range of specialist skills including Intensive Care, Clinical Toxicology, Endoscopy, Obstetric Medicine, Palliative Medicine, Echocardiography, Ultrasound, Stroke Medicine, Medical Education and Simulation Training. All university courses will be funded by Health Education England once prospectively approved by the Training Committee.


You will also need to complete the Acute Medicine Specialty Certificate Examination during your 4 years as a Specialty Registrar. Sitting for the examination is once per year, at present this is in the Autumn.


There will be the opportunity to take an out of programme training experience should you wish to pursue teaching, leadership, management or research interests. Trainees can also choose to dual accredit in Intensive Care or other subspecialties such as stroke medicine, clinical toxicology or prehospital emergency medicine (subject to the local competitive appointment processes).


Many Acute Medicine trainees have successfully applied to be the Chief Registrar within their Hospital Trusts in the West Midlands.


See for further information



Acute Medicine: Key Links


Acute Internal Medicine and General Internal Medicine Curricula

Gold Guide – a reference guide for postgraduate specialty training

Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board

Society for Acute Medicine - the national representative body for staff caring for medical patients in the acute hospital setting





Page Last Updated 1st December 2020