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What are they?
Currently there are a number of ways through which clinicians may be made aware of important issues—by journals, conferences, working parties and the minutes of organisations. This varied route of communication coupled with the large number of specialties with whom emergency medicine works may mean that important messages are not received by those most affected. Positions statements offer the means for the Faculty and Association to make clear and concise statements both to those inside and outside the specialty regarding education, training, research, service or any other area of direct concern to the specialty of emergency medicine.
Why do we need them?
Position statements will be used to clarify the specialty's viewpoint in areas that range from the undisputed to the controversial. Such statements would help individual clinicians when seeking, for example, resources for further equipment (for example, end tidal CO2 monitoring) and service delivery (for example, all patients requiring computed tomography should be scanned within two hours). Also, such statements could provide a clear view of the specialty's aspirations (for example, rapid sequence intubation is to become a central skill for all future practitioners of emergency medicine). Where there is uncertainty, a statement to that effect and a call for research into that area would be another way to use position statements.
How do we disseminate such statements?
Position statements will be disseminated using the following means:
by the minutes of both the FAEM and the BAEM
by publication in the Emergency Medicine Journal.
by publication on the BAEM/FAEM web site
at the annual conferences of both organisations
by mailing those parties who the specialty would anticipate would have a direct interest in the position statement.
How do we use them?
Position statements may be used in the following ways:
As a recommendation from the authoritative bodies on all aspects of emergency medicine. Such statements may be used to argue for appropriate levels of equipment or other resources to deliver care to emergency department patients.
To give clear responses to challenging reports or organisations, for example, the recent Royal College of Surgeons' document on the management of head injuries.
To identify areas of uncertainty (for example, should emergency physicians be trained in the use of ultrasound) and suggest ways forward (for example, commission systematic reviews, encourage research).
How do we generate position statements?
Any member or fellow wishing to develop a position statement will need to do the following:
Draft the position statement
Give clear justification
Provide a review of the evidence
Such statements should be sent to the office of the Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine and will then be forwarded for consideration by the boards of both the FAEM and the BAEM. If the statement is adopted it will be disseminated as described and there will be a review date by which the proposer of the position statement must be prepared to review the latest literature.
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