This page contains information on the specialty of intensive care medicine, a higher specialty recruiting to HST-level vacancies. ICM is not a medical specialty, however, it does accept applicants from medical training backgrounds.

Please note - Intensive Care Medicine does not participate in the Physician Specialty Recruitment Office HST recruitment process.

Recruitment to Intensive Care Medicine is coordinated by Health Education West Midlands.

The specialty

Intensive Care Medicine (ICM) is an exciting and dynamic specialty with the responsibility for caring for the most critically ill patients in hospital, providing a link between basic clinical skills and the most up-to-date technology.

Intensive Care Medicine Specialty Registrar characteristics

ICM will particularly suit doctors who:

  • are dynamic, enthusiastic and motivated
  • want exposure to the widest range of pathology across all hospital specialties
  • enjoy true multi-disciplinary team working
  • have a desire to perform practical procedures.

Working in Intensive Care Medicine

As an ICM doctor you will have responsibility for caring for the most critically ill patients in hospital. While many other medical specialties deal exclusively with specific organs or body systems, ICM encompasses patients with the entire spectrum of medical and surgical pathology.

An ICM doctor is able to provide advanced organ support during critical illness and is responsible for co‐ordinating the care of patients on the ICU.

ICM is high‐tech, life‐saving care that underpins and interacts with all other areas of the hospital. This is an exciting time to undertake ICM training as it is now possible to train exclusively in ICM.

As a specialty ICM is still expanding; the population is growing older and medical technology in conjunction with ever improving pharmacological treatment has resulted in patients living with conditions that were deemed unsurvivable only a few years ago.

Many of these patients depend on the support of intensive care during the acute phase of their illness.

It is also possible to train in ICM in combination with a partner specialty.  The approved Dual CCT programmes are with Emergency Medicine and Anaesthetics.

Prior to the introduction of the new 2021 curriculum, trainees in Respiratory, Renal and Acute Internal Medicine could also apply to train in ICM and achieve a dual CCT. These groups of consultants provide an essential part of a modern Critical Care Service. The new curriculum for these medical specialties now compulsorily incorporates training in Internal Medicine (IM), resulting in dual CCTs in, for example, Respiratory Medicine and Internal Medicine. Addition of ICM therefore results in a triple CCT. This new development adds extra content to the programme for physicians wishing to train in ICM, but also produces consultants with broad skills ideally suited to the changing demands of an evolving, modern Critical Care Service.

Should you choose to dual/triple train you will need to be appointed to both training programmes (i.e., ICM and your chosen partner specialty) in the same region, through separate competitive interview processes.

For those wishing to join the ICM programme, you will be beginning your ST3 ICM journey against the 2021 curriculum. For doctors training in Internal Medicine (IM) Anaesthetics and those on the Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) Training Programme, it will be possible to apply for ST3 ICM during your second year of IM/Anaesthetics and third year of ACCS, as long as you are on track to successfully complete the year and have the suitable examinations to suit the eligibility criteria in the ICM person specification.

However, it leaves you with an important decision to make, as not completing your core training programme in full will have consequences on your future career plans should you ever want to go back into those specialties.

If you are sure that the single ICM CCT is the pathway for you, then applying whilst in the second year of your core training programme (third year for ACCS) may be something you wish to consider. However, if you have any aspirations to dual/triple train in the future with anaesthetics, acute internal medicine, respiratory medicine, or renal medicine then completing the full 3 years of the core programme (4 years for ACCS) may be the best course of action.

We would encourage you to speak to your local ICM trainers to find out more about training in your region, if you have any specific queries, please contact us. 

NB: Please note that doctors are not able to apply for Dual/Triple CCTs if they are beyond the end of ST5 in their initial specialty of appointment at the time of interview for ICM.

Further information