Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus

Diploma in Immediate Medical Care (Dip IMC RCSEd)

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 31 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:gp128
  1. Salmin Aseri, senior house officer in anaesthetics and intensive care medicine
  1. Glasgow Royal Infirmary salmin{at}


Application and further details can be obtained from the registrar, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Adamson Centre, 3 Hill Place, Edinburgh EH3 9DS. Tel 0131 668 9222, fax 0131 668 9218, email information{at}, or go to and then faculty of prehospital care section or examination section.

Who is it for?

Medical practitioners, nurses, and paramedics with an interest and experience in prehospital emergency care, immediate medical care, and management of seriously ill or injured patients.

When can you do it?

It is held three times a year, usually in March, June, and September.

Why do it?

It is good for career development for someone with experience in prehospital care, accident and emergency, immediate medical care, and anaesthetics and intensive care.

How much effort did it entail?

The syllabus includes anatomy, physiology, and pathology; pharmacology; clinical topics; and practical skills relevant to emergency and trauma management. It also includes management skills. Reasonable knowledge of basic sciences and experience of emergency and trauma medicine (airway, breathing, and circulation) is therefore required. Attendance at one of the life support courses such as advanced life support, advanced trauma life support, or advanced paediatric life support may be an advantage.

Is there an exam?

Yes. The examination is divided into a written paper and a viva.

Written paper: This includes 20 multiple choice questions, six short answer questions, a test in which candidates must respond to material projected on to a screen—for example, 10 electrocardiograms, and a written incident exercise.

Viva: This consists of two clinical incident scenario stations, which include core skills, medical emergencies, trauma, the newborn, childbirth, clinical toxicology, and psychiatry.

The fee for the exam is £425 (€615; $734).

Is there a relevant course?

Yes. An exam crammer course is run by the department of academic emergency medicine at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.

Top tip?

It requires regular reading from the recommended reading list and practising core clinical and management skills for at least a couple of months before starting.

Is it worth doing?

This popular diploma was developed by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in the late 1980s. Doing this course is a feather in your cap, and it is a good diploma course for continuous professional development for those interested in emergency, trauma, and acute medicine.

For medical practitioners with at least four years' experience in immediate medical care it may eventually lead to the fellowship of Immediate Medical Care, awarded by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FIMC RCSEd).

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