President’s Message: SAM 10th Anniversary Year

This is an exciting time for the Society which is in its 10th anniversary year. It is opportune to remind members both present and future and other interested parties of the role of SAM.

Rule 1 of our constitution states:

The title of the Society shall be ’Society for Acute Medicine’.  Its object shall be to promote better care of patients who present with acute medical illness.  In pursuing this object the Society shall:

  • Promote education of medical, nursing and paramedical staff in Acute Medicine.
  • Facilitate and co-ordinate the collection of data relevant to acute medical assessments and admissions.
  • Facilitate collaborative research in the area of Acute Medicine.
  • Promote the creation of appropriate environments for acute medical assessments and admissions.
  • Share good practice.
  • Promote the acute care models that exist as examples of improving the management of patients with acute medical problems.
  • Provide encouragement to all members of the multi-disciplinary team that work in Acute Medicine.

The Society wishes to continue to develop and foster its multiprofessional identity and it is gratifying to have a broad spectrum of healthcare professionals involved in the society; however, we need to develop this much further.

Highlights for the society in the last 12 months:

  • In August 2009 we achieved full specialty status for Acute Internal Medicine.  The curriculum is now available on the JRCPTB website (
  • Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) for Acute Internal Medicine has been formed and already has had two meetings
  • 3rd International conference in Birmingham which was a great success
  • Involvement in the clinical guideline development of numerous guidelines with NICE
  • Publication of a systematic review of Acute Medical Units (AMUs) showing that they reduce in-patient mortality, length of stay and blocking of access to emergency department without increasing readmission rates, and improve patient and staff satisfaction

Up and coming highlights:

  • 4th International conference in Edinburgh
  • A paper to providing a guide to training in echo and ultrasound in acute medicine
  • As previously stated the society will continue to focus on three key areas: Consolidation, Building Capacity and Development.


Achieving full specialty status for Acute Internal Medicine provides a stable platform for the continued development of our specialty.  Now as an established clinical group, it is important that we do not merely consider ourselves part of the establishment, if we are to continue to grow and flourish.

A broad range of healthcare professionals, as well as Industry, increasingly recognise the importance of acute medicine.  We do, however, need the public to understand our role in the same way that Intensive Care (ITU) and Coronary Care (CCU) are established terms and understood.  As part of our consolidation and building our identity, it is imperative that as a group we adopt the preferred term for our units, the Acute Medical Unit (AMU), within the hospitals we all practice.

Building Capacity

The new 2009 Acute Internal Medicine curriculum for medical trainees is complete and was a major component in the drive to achieve full specialty status.  It comprehensively documents the competencies required for acute medicine trainees and importantly, reflects the views of both trainees and trainers.  This pioneering piece of work establishes the standards for other specialties and positions acute medicine well to become a leading career choice for junior doctors.  Our specialty must now ensure that we deliver the curriculum to enable our trainees to become the highly skilled doctors we desire.  In addition we need look to supporting nurses, allied healthcare professionals and pharmacists to develop acute medicine as an important part of their portfolio development.


It is important that we ensure the growth of the specialty for all professionals involved or related to the delivery of high quality acute medical care.  I also recognise that we must continue to develop and support our existing members and ensure that the Society fosters links with all relevant clinical specialties.  Specifically the Society will continue to develop our conferences and meetings, to provide an excellent resource for continuing professional development and to support the importance of informal networking and sharing good practice.  The Society for Acute Medicine is regularly contributes to national working parties and committees including those from the Royal Colleges.  This further enhances the reputation of the Society and increases the opportunity for members to contribute on a national stage.

The Society has a number of active work stream programmes in place, including the development of a national database – SAMURAI.  This work builds on other recognized national databases and is in line with our goal of producing quality standards for acute medicine.  This is essential if we are to continue to show evidence of improved care for patients presenting with acute medical conditions.  We are also aligning our research portfolio to reflect both the patient case mix and the current strengths of society members.  We soon will be producing a document to help the training in echo and ultrasound for acute physicians.

Dr Philip Dyer


Nicholo Machiavelli ‘The Prince’ 1515:
for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure