Training and development (Intensive Care Medicine)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their training including medical school.


Intensive Care Medicine (ICM) training takes a minimum of seven years on the single training pathway and 8.5 years on the dual training pathway.

There are four main training pathways for intensive care medicine:

In addition, trainees need to complete the respective specialty examination for the pathway:

A pass in one of these primary examinations confers eligibility to sit the FFICM Final examination (Fellowship of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine).

Trainees can enter specialty training in ICM at ST3 level. Training takes a minimum of five years (ST3-7). During ST3&4, trainees develop the core competences that they have not covered already in their core training in addition to extending their ICM experience. This may include additional time in anaesthesia, ICM and AM.

In ST 5 & 6, trainees gain experience of sub-specialty ICM including cardiothoracic, neurosciences and paediatric ICM in addition to further general ICM experience. Their training may also include the development of a specialist skill relevant to ICM. This year is aimed at developing trainees’ interest in a specific aspect of ICM work. Opportunities include academic ICM, management, pre-hospital medicine, education and echocardiography (see above – Special Skills in ICM).

Individuals are required to pass the Final FFICM examination in order to progress to the final year (ST7). The final year is spent exclusively in ICM and is aimed at developing high-level clinical and non-clinical skills.

Some trainees may wish to undertake a dual CCT programme leading to a qualification in both ICM and a partner specialty. A trainee must be appointed to a dual training programme before the end of their ST5 training year.

Depending on the individual’s previous experience and chosen partner specialty, dual training will extend the training period to a minimum of 8.5 years. Recruitment is stepped, ie trainees enter the first specialty (either ICM or partner) in one recruitment episode and compete for entry to the second specialty the following year. If the trainee enters the second specialty more than 18 months after entering the first, then the GMC will award them a CESR(CP) in the second specialty, not a CCT. For Dual CCT trainees, training during their special skills year will be undertaken in their partner specialty.

Application to the partner specialty is through competitive national interviews. Dual programmes are available in:

The intensive care medicine curriculum is available from the GMC. 

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