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In the spotlight: Emergency, Pre-hospital and Immediate Care (EPIC) intercalated BSc

The launch of the Emergency, Pre-hospital and Immediate Care (EPIC) intercalated BSc

This course exists to train competent, confident and safe emergency physicians who are ready for a future career on the frontline of the NHS.

The creation of EPIC was spearheaded by a Cardiff University alumni and employee, Dr Huw Williams, and is a unique example of a course part funded by the Welsh Government.

Why was the course developed?

There is a national recruitment and retention crisis in Emergency Medicine. In Wales, retention is the main issue. The attrition rate is high - with nearly a quarter of all Emergency Medicine trainees not completing specialty training, despite an all-time high satisfaction rating of Emergency Medicine training by Wales-based postgraduate trainees. This could be due to the limited exposure to the specialty prior to entering specialty training.

This issue was discussed at the first Welsh International Symposium of Emergency Medicine (WISEM16), a Cardiff University event held in May 2016 and attended by representatives of academic, government and professional bodies. WISEM16 sowed the seed of an idea for a new undergraduate degree which would give students an opportunity to experience Pre-hospital and Emergency Medicine, equipping them with some of the knowledge and skills required, whilst also ensuring that their learning would be of use no matter what future career they ultimately chose.

Securing funding and approval

Students on the course undertake clinical placements based in busy emergency departments and have weekly pre-hospital exposure to the Welsh Ambulance Service.

To secure funding for these placements, an application was made to the Welsh Government for Medical Service Increment for Teaching (SIFT) funding. The application proposed an expansion from 10 students in South East Wales to 15 students in All Wales in just 3 years, and listed the potential numerous benefits this would have for Cardiff University, Emergency Medicine and Wales as a whole.

Over a period of 9 months the degree was put through the educational approval process and was approved by the College in December 2016. In the following August, the SIFT funding of approximately £100,000 for the initial year was allocated and the degree was launched in September 2017 by Vaughan Gething AM (Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services), Professor Gary Baxter (Pro-Vice Chancellor, College of Biomedical and Life Sciences), and Dr Cliff Mann (Immediate Past President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine).

Course structure and content

The EPIC iBSc degree covers 5 modules including: Sports, Pre-hospital and Other Emergencies, Emergency Diagnostics, Resuscitation Science, Trauma Science and Paediatric Emergency Medicine, each with a teaching week followed by a clinical placement. In addition, students undertake an Intercalated Research Project, allowing them the opportunity to research one of the Emergency/Pre-hospital Medicine areas to a more advanced level.

For further information about the course please visit our intercalated degree content or contact:

Medicine Intercalation

This is a shortened version of the full article that features in edition 27 of ReMEDy.

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