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A&E consultants


A&E consultants are highly-qualified doctors who oversee the care of emergency patients, usually during their first four hours in hospital. This may involve anything from minor cuts to major road traffic accidents, or critical illnesses such as stroke or cardiac arrest.

While many healthcare professionals are involved in caring for each individual patient, the A&E consultant takes a lead role, ensuring that the right team, equipment and medication is prepared to respond to the needs of each patient.

The A&E consultant is involved throughout the patient journey, overseeing the process and providing the patient with direct care, while also updating families on the findings and outlook for that patient. 

In this highly varied role, A&E consultants see a very rapid turnover of patients and need to have excellent team-working skills under pressure. This is a very rewarding role in which you can make a vital difference to a great number of patients on a daily basis. However, one downside is that you may not know what happens to your patient after they are admitted.  

I chose this career because I wanted to make the most difference to the most people. And the one place where you will see literally hundreds of patients a day is an emergency department.'

Dr TJ Lasoye, A&E Consultant



Qualifying as an A&E consultant is a relatively long process. After studying science A-levels at school (particularly Biology and Chemistry), the next step is a basic medical degree (the MBBS).

This is followed by a two-year foundation programme to consolidate what you have learned at medical school, followed by another six-year programme in emergency medicine.

During this time the new doctor undertakes a series of exams, which are overseen by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. Once they pass these exams, doctors can take a post as an A&E consultant.

As well as these qualifications, it is important for A&E consulants to have strong management skills, be able to work well under pressure and have a significant degree of interpersonal and teamwork skills. 

Top tip

If you’re considering a career in emergency medicine, the first step is to work hard on your science GCSEs and A-levels so you can get the grades needed to get into medical school.

At the same time, try to engage in the process of care by volunteering in hospices or care homes or getting work experience in emergency departments.

It’s also a good idea to talk to people who are currently working in emergency medicine, whether they are doctors or other members of the emergency team such as paramedics, nurses, healthcare assistants or dietitians. This will give you an idea about whether working in emergency medicine is right career path for you.

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