Landmark Quality Standards launch on Acute Medicine Awareness Day to improve emergency care for hospital patients.


A landmark document designed to establish consistent standards of care for patients admitted to Acute Medical Units (AMUs) across the UK launches on 20th June. The document, ‘Quality Standards for Acute Medical Units’, is produced by the West Midlands Quality Review Service in association with the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM), and the launch is timed to coincide with the first ever Acute Medicine Awareness Day.

Dr Chris Roseveare, President of the Society for Acute Medicine says: “When a patient is admitted to hospital as an emergency it is crucial that the clinical team responds quickly to meet the patient’s needs. This document provides a major step towards ensuring that this vulnerable group of patients receives the highest quality of care in every part of the UK”.

The document also requires units to provide appropriate information to patients about their condition and the process of care on the Acute Medical Unit. Dr Roseveare adds: “Improving patients’ understanding of acute medical care is also a key aim of Acute Medicine Awareness Day; this will help to reduce the anxiety which many will feel during this difficult period”.

Quality Standards key recommendations for Acute Medical Units:

  • To ensure that a doctor experienced in the care of acutely unwell patients is immediately available at all times.
  • To provide a team of healthcare professionals, with the necessary skills to enable all aspects of acute medical care to be delivered on a daily basis
  • To maintain high quality, safe patient care at all times, with plans in place to deal with unexpected rises in patient numbers, when the capacity of the ward is stretched.
  • To ensure that patients are properly informed about their condition, the process of care on the unit and the services which can be provided to support them when they go home.

Lisa Carroll, consultant nurse in North Staffordshire and one of the authors of the document says: “The quality standards will ensure that patients being cared for in acute medicine receive high quality care wherever they present. They will help clinicians develop services and provide a framework on which they can benchmark themselves. This is an exciting development”.

Jane Eminson, Acting Director of the West Midlands Quality Review Service comments: “We have been pleased to collaborate with the Society for Acute Medicine on the publication of these Standards and hope this will bring the innovative work from the West Midlands to a wider audience”.

Professor Matthew Cooke, National Clinical Director Urgent and Emergency Care, says: “We know that earlier senior involvement in the emergency care of patients with acute medical problems improves their outcomes. Specialists in acute medicine are a key component in ensuring the best care for people who suffer sudden illness. This document supports this continuing improvement in care for these patients.”

Dr Mark Temple, acute care fellow, Royal College of Physicians London states: “The quality of care delivered on acute medical units is critical to the best outcomes for acutely ill patients. This important document sets out the quality standards for the care of patients with acute medical conditions, throughout the NHS”.

The document complements the simultaneous launch of The Silver Book, which deals specifically with the needs of older patients in the emergency setting.  Dr Roseveare says: “Releasing these two documents on Acute Medicine Awareness day emphasises the importance of delivering high quality care for patients of all ages when they first come in to hospital”.


Notes to the editors:

  • Acute medicine (also known as acute internal medicine) is the specialty which deals with the immediate and early treatment of adult patients with a variety of medical conditions who present in hospital as emergencies.
  • The Society for Acute Medicine is the national representative body for the speciality of acute medicine and represents over a thousand members.
  • The President of the Society for Acute Medicine, Dr Chris Roseveare, is available for interview.
  • Dr Roseveare has been an acute medical consultant in a large teaching hospital since 1999.
  • The full document will be accessible at on 20th of June.
  • The Quality Standards in Acute Medical Units document complements the existing SAM Quality Indicators, launched in 2011, which are found on the website.
  • Pictures of the SAM logo and Dr Roseveare are available upon request.
  • Attached is a full list of the hospitals taking part in the first ever Acute Medicine Awareness Day.
  • The West Midlands Quality Review Service supports all NHS organisations in the West Midlands in improving the quality of health services.


Claire Charras
Communications and Marketing Executive
Society for Acute Medicine
07 985 49 49 65
0117 983 0542

Jane Eminson
Acting Director
West Midlands Quality Review Service
07788 413480

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