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Scottish Medical Training

Scotland - the home of medical excellence

Speciality: Intensive Care Medicine

Programme Description
GMC Reference: NOS/371

GMC Reference: NOS/371

 The North of Scotland training programme is based mainly in the Department of Critical Care in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with the opportunity for attachments in other hospitals to gain additional appropriate experience.  The programme fulfils the criteria to achieve all Stages of the single or dual 2021 ICM Curriculum leading to CCT in Intensive Care Medicine.


The Department of Critical Care in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is led by a dedicated team of fifteen Critical Care Consultants.  Care is delivered across two areas totalling thirty-two beds providing Level 2 and Level 3 to over 1800 patients a year.  As a tertiary referral centre for a number of specialities, we admit patients from across the North of Scotland, the Northern Isles, Orkney and Shetland and patients from shipping and offshore oil installations. A six bedded Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit sits adjacent to the General Intensive Care Unit and admits around 600 patients per annum.


All major medical and surgical specialties are covered by the Critical Care Department on a single site (with the exception of Transplant Surgery).  This includes Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, Major Vascular Surgery, Major Head and Neck Surgery, Plastics, Neurosurgery and Major Orthopaedics and Trauma. 


All forms of organ support are used including haemofiltration, haemodialysis, cardiovascular and neurological support.  Advanced ventilatory support is available including Extracorporeal CO2 Removal (ECCO2R) and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). Aberdeen is the commissioned National ECMO Centre for Scotland, an ELSO centre of excellence and an integral part of the UK ECMO network. We receive patients from all Scottish Health Boards requiring extracorporeal life support.


Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where the majority of training is delivered is the largest hospital within NHS Grampian. It is situated on a self-contained 125-acre site at Foresterhill, to the northwest of the city centre, and is one of the largest hospital complexes in Europe.  The campus houses Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, the University of Aberdeen Medical and Dental School, University Institute of Medical Sciences, Health Services Research Unit, and the world renowned Rowett Research Institute.    


Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has a catchment population of over 600,000 and admits approximately 100,000 patients per annum.  It is a tertiary referral centre for the Grampian and Highland regions and the Northern Isles.  The Scottish National Hyperbaric Centre is also part of the campus admitting emergency patients from across Scotland and providing advice to NHS Boards and the offshore oil industry.  Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is also one of only four Major Trauma Centres in Scotland and the North Division of the Scottish Emergency Medical Retrieval Service is based out of the nearby Aberdeen Airport with many links to the hospital and Critical Care Department. Close links with the University of Aberdeen have made the hospital a centre of pioneering medical research in a number of fields.


Aberdeen is a cosmopolitan city that offers a great range of cultural activities.  Its close proximity to beautiful coastline, hills and awe-inspiring countryside makes it ideal for those seeking an exciting outdoor lifestyle. The nearby mountain ranges of the Cairngorms, major lakes and rivers such as the Dee and the Don offer superb opportunities for outdoor activities. Three out of five of Scotland’s ski resorts are within an hour’s drive. As well as breath-taking scenery Aberdeen is surrounded by golf courses, beautiful beaches, the world-famous malt whiskey distillery trail and a wealth of historic castles and magnificent gardens. There are excellent rail and road links and air links from Aberdeen International Airport with other British cities and further afield.


The North of Scotland Training Programme lends itself to the development of subspeciality interests and specialist knowledge and skills can be developed in advanced respiratory support, extracorporeal life support, hyperbaric medicine, prehospital medicine, echocardiology, ultrasonography, bronchoscopy, research, quality improvement, and medical management.  There is an active teaching programme, journal club and simulation sessions. Attendance at regional and national educational events is encouraged.  Trainees are supported to complete the FFICM and dual programme speciality exams.   

Research, audit, teaching and management opportunities

There is a strong tradition of research in the North of Scotland. There is a wide range of opportunities for clinical and laboratory research, facilities, and support for which are available through close links with the University of Aberdeen, Institute of Medical Sciences. The department itself has been and continues to be an active participant in numerous ongoing multicentre centre research studies. Members of the Consultant team have active research interests and are NRS fellowships and the department has its own group of research nurses. Previous trainees have completed SCREDs and other Clinical Academic pathways and have been associate PIs on several studies.


Quality improvement is an essential component of training and clinical practice.  We have a continuous quality improvement program and several SQSF and ScIL fellows amongst the team.  Trainees are encouraged to participate in audit and quality improvement activities.  and support towards developing specific projects is provided. 


Trainees are also expected to take part in other clinical governance activities including clinical guideline and protocol development and clinical risk management. Trainees are supported in contributing and participating in other management opportunities.  Previous trainees have represented the Critical Care Department locally and nationally as Trainee Representatives in Organ Donation, SICS Educational Committee Leads, and as sector Trainee Leads within the hospital.

Where is the training delivered?
Training is delivered across:

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Royal Aberdeen Childrens Hospital, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Aberdeen

Training is delivered across: 

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.  With specialist placements in other major teaching hospitals. 

Contacts and Useful Links
Programme Type Deanery based or National: Deanery
Administration office North of Scotland
Lead Dean / Director Professor Adam Hill
Responsible Associate Postgraduate Dean or Assistant Director (GP) Dr Joy Miller
Specialty or Sub-specialty Specialty or Sub-specialty: Specialty
Date of GMC recent approval August 2010
Associated Royal College - Faculty
Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (web site)
Curriculum and Associated Assessment System
Programme Administrator: Named Programme Administrator: Alan Summers- Training Programme Administrator
Address: NHS Education, 2 Central Quay, 89 Hydepark Street, Glasgow, G3 8BW
Tel: 0141 223 1424
Programme Director Programme Director Name: Dr Stephen Friar
Address: Dr Stephen Friar Intensive Care Medicine IMS Aberdeen AB25 2ZN
Quality of Training Quality Management

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