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About the College & Emergency Medicine

About the College & Emergency Medicine

The College is established to advance education and research in Emergency Medicine. The College is responsible for setting standards of training and administering examinations in Emergency Medicine for the award of Fellowship and Membership of the College as well as recommending trainees for CCT in Emergency Medicine.

About the College

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine works to ensure high quality care for patients by setting and monitoring standards of care in emergency departments, as well as providing expert guidance and advice on policy to relevant bodies on matters relating to Emergency Medicine.

The College aims to advance education and research in Emergency Medicine. It is responsible for setting standards of training and administering examinations in Emergency Medicine for the award of Fellowship and Membership of the College, as well as recommending trainees for CCT in Emergency Medicine.

In February 2015 the College was granted the title Royal, having previously being known as The College of Emergency Medicine after a Royal Charter was gained in February 2008.

The College now numbers over 10,000 Fellows and Members registered internationally and works to represent both its members and the interests of patients.

The College supports and takes an active interest in the work of the European Society for Emergency Medicine and the International Federation for Emergency Medicine.

For more information about the aims and objectives of the College please read our Corporate Plan.

What is emergency medicine?

Emergency Medicine is defined as: “Emergency Medicine is a field of practice based on the knowledge and skills required for the prevention, diagnosis and management of acute and urgent aspects of illness and injury affecting patients of all age groups with a full spectrum of undifferentiated physical and behavioural disorders. It further encompasses an understanding of the development of pre-hospital and in-hospital emergency medical systems and the skills necessary for this development.”
International Federation for Emergency Medicine, 1991

Contact us

You can visit our contact us page or get in touch via one of the following:

Tel: 020 7404 1999

Twitter: @RCollEM | @RCEMPresident

Instagram: @rcollem

Our location: Office, Education, Exams & Events Centre

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine
Octavia House
54 Ayres Street

Patron: HRH The Princess Royal

Registered Charity number: 1122689 | Registered Charity number in Scotland: SC044373

History of Emergency Medicine & the College

50 Years of Emergency Medicine

In 2017, the College celebrated the 50th anniversary of the inception of emergency medicine, with a host of events and activities across the country to mark the occasion.

Fifty years ago the first meeting of the Casualty Surgeons Association (CSA) – the forerunner of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine – took place at BMA House. Dr Maurice Ellis chaired the meeting of 10 officers, most of whom were non-consultant Senior Casualty officers, but had surgical backgrounds.

Emergency Medicine at 50

‘Emergency Medicine at 50’ tells the story of our Royal College in the words of many of the people who made it happen. They write about their successes and their frustrations, and about the enthusiasms that have kept them going. As it is the 50th anniversary, the story is told from 50 different viewpoints.

Contributors were asked to choose their own angle on the College story. There are many different styles and approaches. There are memories and anecdotes. Some are strong on facts and details while others paint with a broader brush. Some write with rich humour. Some particularly demonstrate inspiring dedication to today’s tasks and raise exciting possibilities for the future.

The story of RCEM is no ordinary story, and ‘Emergency Medicine at 50’ is no ordinary story book.

Reasons to work for us

Three words that describe Emergency Medicine

The theme of our celebrations was Inspiration, Celebration and Innovation and we ask our members to send us the three words that they felt best describe what makes emergency medicine special. The graphic shown is a result of that.

Background to the College

+ 2010s


  • The College was granted the title “Royal” on 4 February by Her Majesty The Queen, acting on advice of her Ministers and so became The Royal College of Emergency Medicine.
+ 2000s


  • College and Association formally merge on 29 February to become a new body, The College of Emergency Medicine, incorporated by Royal Charter.
  • On 1 October, HRH the Princess Royal graciously presents the Charter to Mr Jim Wardrope.


  • 40 years since establishment of CSA.
  • EuSEM now affiliated with 24 national societies in 23 European countries.


  • Faculty of A&E Medicine becomes College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) on 1 January. Mr Jim Wardrope is first president of CEM. The College is the authoritative body for Emergency Medicine in the UK and the Republic of Ireland (where it works alongside the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine).
  • College and Association move to new shared accommodation in Churchill House, Red Lion Square, Holborn.
  • College no longer constitutionally linked to “parent” colleges.
  • FFAEM diploma becomes FCEM, MFAEM becomes MCEM.
  • College of Arms authorises transfer of Faculty coat of arms to CEM.


  • Faculty and Association each vote unanimously at General Meetings for the two bodies to merge and form a College.
  • A Merger Board is formed to work out the practical details.
  • EuSEM forms Federation of national EM societies in Europe.


  • BAEM drops the “Accident” becoming British Association for Emergency Medicine (initials unchanged).
  • A UK Statutory Instrument formally changes the name of the specialty from A&E Medicine to Emergency Medicine (also known as Accident & Emergency Medicine).


  • First diet of examination confirming eligibility for entry to Higher Specialist Training in EM, Membership of the Faculty of A&E Medicine (MFAEM).


  • AGM of BAEM approves considering the establishment of a College of Emergency Medicine in conjunction with FAEM.


  • Journal is relaunched as Emergency Medicine Journal (EMJ).
+ 1990s


  • SAC in A&E Medicine becomes Joint Committee on Higher Training in A&E Medicine under auspices of FAEM.




  • European Society for Emergency Medicine (EuSEM) founded, initially as individual membership body.


  • Inauguration of Intercollegiate Faculty of A&E Medicine on 2 November at RCSEng. Faculty has six “parent” colleges: RCSEng, RCPLond, RCSEd, RCPEd, RCPSGlas, and RCoA. Dr David Williams is first president.
  • EMRS is absorbed by the Faculty.
  • BAEM continues with responsibility for professional and clinical matters, while Faculty is to develop academic and training issues.


  • Intercollegiate Board on A&E Medicine established with representation from BAEM, RCPLond, and RCSEng. RCPEd, RCSEd, RCPSGlas, RCPI, RCSI, RCoA.
  • International Federation for Emergency Medicine established (first members are ACEP, ACEM, BAEM and CAEP).


  • Mr David Yates appointed in Manchester, to first professorial chair in A&E Medicine.
  • After many vigorous debates, CSA agrees name change to British Association for Accident & Emergency Medicine (BAEM).
+ 1980's


  • First International Conference on Emergency Medicine, held in London.


  • British Accident & Emergency Medicine Journal and Archives of Emergency Medicine adopted as CSA journals.


  • Australasian College of Emergency Medicine established.


  • Emergency Medicine Research Society established as an independent body to foster research in the specialty. First meeting at Royal Station Hotel, York.
  • First diet of FRCSEd examination in Accident & Emergency Medicine and Surgery (became MRCSEd (A&E) subsequently. The final diet was in 2009).


  • Australian Society of Emergency Medicine formed.
+ 1970s


  • First Senior Registrar appointments approved by the SAC in A&E Medicine (several individual posts were actually filled from 1976 onwards).
  • Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians established.


  • Specialist Advisory Committee (SAC) in Accident and Emergency Medicine formed under auspices of Joint Committees in Higher Medical and Surgical Training. SAC based at Regent’s Park (RCP) and CSA at Lincoln’s Inn Fields (RCS).


  • 30 Consultant posts established as an experimental pilot, creating a new specialty in the UK – Accident and Emergency Medicine. Specialty is called Emergency Medicine in most other countries where it is practiced.
+ 1960s


  • First AGM of CSA in Walsall, near Birmingham.
  • American College of Emergency Physicians founded.


  • First meeting of the Casualty Surgeons Association (CSA) at BMA House. Maurice Ellis was in the chair. Most of the other members were non-consultant Senior Casualty officers. All 10 who attended the first meeting had surgical backgrounds.


  • Report by Sir Harry Platt recommends change of name from Casualty to Accident & Emergency Departments.
+ 1950s


  • Senior Casualty Officer grade created to provide experienced medical supervision in Casualty Departments.


  • Mr Maurice Ellis, first full time Casualty Consultant in England, appointed to the General Infirmary at Leeds.

Presidents of BAEM Faculty and College

Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM)

  • Adrian Boyle – 2022 to present
  • Katherine Henderson – 2019 to 2022
  • Tajek Hassan – 2016 to 2019
  • Clifford Mann – 2013 to 2016

College of Emergency Medicine (CEM)

  • Mike Clancy – 2011 to 2013
  • John Heyworth – 2008 to 2011
  • Jim Wardrope – 2006 to 2008

Faculty of Accident & Emergency Medicine (FAEM)

  • Jim Wardope – 2005 to 2006
  • Alastair McGowan – 2002 to 2005
  • Ian Anderson – 1999 to 2002
  • Keith Little – 1996 to 1999
  • David Williams – 1993 to 1996

British Association for Emergency Medicine (BAEM)

  • Don MacKechnie – 2007 to 2008
  • Martin Shalley – 2004 to 2007
  • John Heyworth – 2001 to 2004
  • Roger Evans – 1998 to 2001
  • Christopher Cutting – 1995 to 1998
  • Keith Little – 1993 to 1995
  • Norman Kirby – 1990 to 1993

Casualty Surgeons Association (CSA)

  • David Williams – 1987 to 1990
  • David Wilson – 1984 to 1987
  • William Rutherford – 1981 to 1984
  • John Collins – 1978 to 1981
  • Edward Abson – 1975 to 1978
  • David Caro – 1972 to 1975
  • Maurice Ellis – 1967 to 1972

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