HEE launch new speciality pilots in General Internal Medicine

Health Education England (HEE) have today launched a new General Internal Medicine (GIM) speciality, addressing the growing need for physicians who can provide care for a range of complex conditions.

Currently, Higher Speciality Training in GIM is only available as part of dual training with a group 1 speciality, but now new pilot programmes are being rolled out in East Midlands, West Midlands, and Wessex.

These new pilots will create a single accreditation in GIM in the hope of providing high quality general care for patients with multiple unrelated conditions.

If successful, the new initiative would reduce the need for referrals to different specialist teams, subsequently relieving pressure on waiting lists for specialist procedures and clinics.

Dr Phil Bright, Clinical Advisor for Internal Medicine Training at HEE, said: “GIM is an important part of the future of physician care and these pilots offer an exciting opportunity.

“Until the 1980s, GIM departments were commonplace in UK hospitals. Over time, physicians began to focus on the delivery of specialist care and GPs have been left trying to co-ordinate care for an individual patient across multiple specialty teams. This is now becoming increasingly challenging as medical care develops.

“Patients’ demographics are changing, with a greater focus on older people and those with multiple co-morbidities, so physician care needs to evolve too. The opening of these training programmes is a crucial step in that process.”

The pilot programmes will take place at:

  • University Hospital, Southampton
  • Queen Alexander Hospital, Portsmouth
  • St Mary's Hospital, Isle of Wight
  • University Hospital, Birmingham
  • University Hospital, Coventry & Warwickshire
  • The Royal Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust
  • The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals of Leicester

Hospital Trusts re-opening GIM departments up and down the country, indicating a need for this specialist role, was the catalyst for HEE to draw up plans for this project.

A new GIM consultant will be an expert managing an array of acute illnesses and treating common conditions, whilst also playing a key role in diagnosing patients with unusual and complex conditions.

Examples of some of the areas the new role will help with include tending to inpatients with multiple illnesses and on more than different type of medication. They could also provide support to outpatients with vague symptoms such as weight loss and pain that may indicate serious conditions like cancer.

Applications for the programme open today and close on the 16th of August, with trainees expected to start late this year or early next year.

How to apply and more information about the new training programmes is available here.

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