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Intensive care medicine

Doctors working in intensive care medicine (ICM) manage critically ill patients with, at risk of, or recovering from, potentially life-threatening failure of any of the body’s organ systems.

Training and qualifications required

Training usually starts with a five year first degree in medicine, two years foundation doctor training, two years core training (CT1-CT2), followed by five years specialists training (ST3-ST7). This period of training will include your royal college exams. Length of training can vary according to your circumstances.

Expected working hours and salary range

Doctors may work up to 48 hours a week. The working hours may sometimes extend beyond the normal working day to include early mornings, evenings and weekends, on call highly likely. Pay scales (2017): Consultants earn between £76,761 and £103,490.

Desirable skills and values

This role requires that you are able to understand how people from different cultures are affected by serious illness and death. You'll be dynamic, enthusiastic and motivated. Excellent communication skills and team working are important. You'll be knowledgeable in performing practical procedures. An interest to explore the widest range of pathology is required. You'll be able to work under pressure; diagnose and take the initiative in highly pressurised and emotive situations.


There are 508 consultants in neurology in England in 2016 ICM is one of the newest specialties introduced on its own in 2012. Previously, most intensivists came from an anaesthetics background and job market recording did not separate them. Opportunities exist for research and teaching.
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