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SAM conference

The 5th International SAM meeting is being held on 29th and 30th September 2011, at Imperial College in London. As usual, there is a packed programme with a diverse range of topics and speakers – hopefully something for everyone!

The trainee session is taking place at the end of the first day in the Reed Lecture Theatre. We have chosen a similar format to last autumn’s session; there will be three short talks from trainees about their specialist skills, followed by two longer presentations covering some important areas of professional development (from both a practical and a political point of view).

The full programme for the conference is available through the SAM website.

Specialist skills

We have been aware for a while that there are disparities in specialist skill provision both between and within deaneries – and the SAC is working hard to identify problems in this area. More recently, the issue of funding for specialist skills has been raised. It seems that some deaneries are happy and able to contribute towards the cost of training in a particular skill, while others are not; in at least one deanery, part-funding has now been withdrawn, leaving trainees to cover the entire cost of their chosen skills training. As specialist skill training is now a mandatory part of the Acute Medicine curriculum, we need to find a way to eliminate disparity both between different deaneries and between different skills. However, there is no easy solution, and for the time being, trainees will have to factor in the potential financial implications of a particular skill when they are considering their options.

On a brighter note, the list of recognised specialist skills has increased over the past year. Palliative Care has been authorised as a suitable skill, and Medical Ethics and Law will soon also be added to the list. If you would like to propose a skill that is not currently listed in the Acute Medicine curriculum, you should discuss it with your training programme director, who can bring the proposal to the Acute Medicine Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC).

Acute Medicine SCE

Registration for this year’s specialty certificate examination is now open. If you would like to apply, please go to the MRCP(UK) website where you will be taken through the steps in the application process. This year’s exam is due to take place on 23rd November, and the registration period for UK candidates ends on 19th October.

We are hoping that a Masterclass in SCE preparation will be held at the next SAM conference, on 30th September. This will be a great opportunity to hear tips from the experts, and to share revision resources with your colleagues.


A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to try and improve the functionality of the ePortfolio website. Many trainees will still be able to see multiple curricula when they log in to their ePortfolio – and this has been causing confusion because they do not know which curriculum they should rate themselves against or populate with linkages. Over the next few months, additional curricula will be removed, so each trainee should only be able to see the curriculum that they are actually following. This change will also help to make trainees “more visible” to their training programme directors, so that their educational progress can be followed more closely.

For those of you who are undertaking both General and Acute Internal Medicine training, there is still no way to “cross populate” between the two curricula. We would advise you to fill in the majority of your competencies and linkages on the Acute Medicine curriculum, adding links from here to the General Medicine curriculum where appropriate.

Over time, additional documents will be added to the ePortfolio. These will include specialty-specific DOPS forms, the Patient Survey tool, and templates to allow clinical supervisors from specialty attachment blocks to upload attachment reports directly onto the system. Simplification and standardisation is the key!

Length of ACCS training

There has been a lot of confusion recently about the length of ACCS training. While trainees on the Emergency Medicine and Anaesthetics streams of the programme have had their third years confirmed, some of those on the Acute Medicine stream have been told by their deaneries that their training will only be two years long, in keeping with Core Medical Training. Both SAM and the SAC support the three-year programme, but further discussions with the higher training boards are ongoing – and a final decision should be reached by September 2011.

Getting involved

At a recent SAM strategy meeting, we discussed the possibility of writing a library of information leaflets for patients and relatives attending the AMU. These leaflets would contain AMU-relevant information about diagnoses, treatment options and procedures, and could be made available on a national scale. This would be a great project for an enthusiastic group of trainees to take on. If you would like to get involved in this, or any other Acute Medicine-related projects, please do get in touch with us.

Amy Daniel

Alice Miller

SAM Trainee Representatives


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