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Emergency Medicine Officially Recognised in India

The Specialty of Emergency Medicine Officially Recognised in India!

Emails, SMSes and phone calls within the emergency medicine community in India were communicating only one important news today. The Medical Council of India (MCI) finally recognised the specialty of emergency medicine in Indian healthcare. The amendment notification of the MCI, New Delhi dated July 21st 2009 shows the addition of two new specialties, Emergency Medicine & Infectious Diseases. Emergency Medicine now becomes the 30th specialty to be included in the MD (Doctor of Medicine) list.

PG Courses - Brief Regulations (From MCI), Amendment Notification 21-July-2009

(Note that, in India, MD is a title given only for postgraduates who complete 3 years specialization after 5.5 years of medical schooling i.e. MBBS)

The timeline is very similar to what happened in the United States. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) was the first emergency medicine society to be formed in the US, in 1968. This was followed by the recognition of EM as the 23rd medical specialty by the American Medical Association & the American Board of Medical Specialties in 1979, i.e. 11 years later.

The Society of Emergency Medicine, India held its first meeting in May 1999 during the first ever Indian conference in emergency medicine (EMCON 1999) at Hyderabad. The Society was officially registered in April 2000. The then cohesive body gave its first recommendation to the MCI to include EM as a specialty in postgraduate medical education in June 2000, which was turned down. Reference to this is found in the MCI website at Minutes of MCI meeting on 24-July-2000 Statement No:21. Exactly 9 years later, the realization strikes after much effort by our EM pioneers, and probably by the increasing awareness of high quality emergency care. Emergency Medicine is officially marked as an independent specialty in Indian healthcare.

This event has marked the detonation, which will lead to a chain of events which cannot be predicted due to the extremely diverse nature of emergency physicians currently practicing in India. Rather than jubiliation, there seems to be a hint of worry everywhere. EM physicians who have previously passed out from deemed universities, those who have foreign degrees and those who are currently in unrecognised courses, are having their current & future status questioned.

The same is true with most of the newly planned PG courses, which do not seem to have any EM qualified faculty at this time and will be dependent on non-EM faculty from various specialties, or visiting foreign faculty who do not have the locally derived Indian acumen.

It will be very interesting to see how things will turnout in the next few months. EmergencyMedicine.in hopes for the best to happen, so as to deliver the best to every single patient or victim brought into our emergency departments.

Congratulations to all those who have fought for this recognition! Our work has just begun!

Dr. Imron Subhan
Editor-in-Chief, EmergencyMedicine.in
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Update on Sep 2010
EM was recognised in India more than 22 years ago
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