Pre-hospital emergency medicine

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Pre-hospital emergency medicine
London's Air Ambulance Helicopter at Tower Bridge.jpg
A London's Air Ambulance helicopter flies near the Tower Bridge, London
System Acute illness and injury
Significant diseases
Specialist Pre-hospital emergency physician

Pre-hospital emergency medicine (abbreviated PHEM) is a medical speciality which focuses on caring for seriously ill or injured patients before they reach hospital, and during emergency transfer to hospital or between hospitals. It is a subspecialty which may be practised by physicians from various backgrounds such as anaesthesiology, emergency medicine, intensive care medicine and acute medicine, after they have completed initial training in their base specialty.

Doctors practising PHEM are usually well-integrated with local emergency medical services, and are dispatched together with emergency medical technicians or paramedics where potentially life-threatening trauma or illness is suspected that may benefit from immediate specialist medical treatment. This may involve travelling by car or air ambulance to the site.

In the United Kingdom, PHEM was recognised as a subspecialty of emergency medicine and anaesthetics in July 2011 by the General Medical Council.[1] From February 2015, this was extended to intensive care medicine and acute medicine.

The European Training Requirement curriculum for anaesthesia was updated in 2018 to state that the knowledge, clinical skills and specific attitudes of pre-hospital emergency medicine form part of the core domain of critical emergency medicine and, as such, should form part of postgraduate training for doctors specialising in anaesthesia.[2]


  1. ^ Intercollegiate Board for Training in Pre-hospital Emergency Medicine, 2014, Sub-specialty Training in Pre-hospital Emergency Medicine, p. 5 (PDF)[1]
  2. ^ Standing Committee on Education and Professional Development (EPD) of the Section and Board of Anaesthesiology (2018), European Training Requirement in Anaesthesiology (PDF), European Board of Anaesthesiology – UEMS Anaesthesiology Section, retrieved 12 August 2018