The organisation of the American emergency health care system has changed rapidly during recent years, but it remains very different to the system in the United Kingdom. American emergency departments are organised around an attending physician based service, rather than a consultant led service. As a result, the work of the American emergency physician differs considerably from that of the United Kingdom A&E consultant. The problems associated with working in an attending physician based service include antisocial hours of work, sleep deprivation, decreased job satisfaction, and "burn out," all in the context of a relatively hostile medicolegal climate. Although there appear to be no easy answers to some of these problems, the A&E specialist should be aware of the potential future difficulties for A&E medicine as it develops within the United Kingdom.
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