Acute Care Common Stem - ACCS

Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) is a 3 year multi-disciplinary training programme.  It is the only core training programme for trainees wishing to enter higher specialty training in Emergency Medicine and is an alternative core training programme for trainees wishing to enter higher specialty training in General/Acute Internal Medicine, Anaesthesia or Intensive Care Medicine. 

If you are planning a career in an acute specialty, this is the ideal start to your training. You will gain structured experience in the skills needed to rapidly assess and appropriately treat the sickest patients in the hospital.

If you have a hankering to work in a dynamic acute speciality, this is the ideal start to your training. Ideally suited to those who plan a career in an acute hospital, it provides a solid base of experience and skills that will be developed further in whichever speciality you choose.

You will gain structured experience in the skills needed to rapidly assess and appropriately treat sick patients, and take these skills forward through your training.

This training scheme encompasses the first 3 years of training following FP2 year and comprises 6-month attachments in Emergency Medicine, Acute Medicine, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine leading to a career in one of these specialities. All schemes provide the 6 month attachments for the first 2 years. In the third year, a post is provided according to the chosen specialty.

The 4 hospitals providing ACCS schemes are:

  • University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff (8 posts)
  • Morriston, Swansea (8 posts)
  • Newport, Gwent (8 posts)
  • Bangor (4 posts)
  • Wrexham (4 posts)

You will remain in the same hospital for at least 2 years (usually 3) and therefore will be able to use this to develop your understanding of how care of the sick patient is organised and dealt with throughout the hospital. This will enable you to communicate and understand the difficulties encountered by different areas in dealing with an acutely ill patient.

Application to ACCS is through your chosen base speciality - you cannot apply for ACCS on its own. The specialities offering ACCS as an option in their training programme are Anaesthesia, Medicine and Emergency Medicine (Accident and Emergency Medicine).

If you apply to train as a physician, there are 4 slots available for you to enter ACCS. Following completion of the first 2 years of ACCS you will enter an extra year at ST2 level to allow you to achieve the necessary medicine competencies.

ACCS - What next?

Following completion of ACCS training, trainees can apply for higher specialist training:

Anaesthesia - If your parent specialty is Anaesthesia, you will be eligible to apply for an ST3 Anaesthesia post at the end of your 3 years in ACCS.  You will need to have passed the Primary FRCA exam.

Emergency Medicine - If your parent specialty is Emergency Medicine, you will be eligible to apply for an ST4 Emergency Medicine post at the end of your 3 years in ACCS.  You will need to have passed the MCEM exam.

Medicine - If your parent specialty is Medicine, you will be eligible to apply for an ST3 Medicine (specialist) post at the end of your 3 years in ACCS.  You will need to have passed the MRCP exam.

Intensive Care Medicine - Following completion of the ACCS scheme, you will be eligible to apply for an ST3 Intensive Care Medicine post. You will need to have passed either MRCP/MCEM or Primary FRCA exam.

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