Brief history of the specialty of emergency medicine
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  • Published on:
    A right royal title
    • Gabriel B Beecham, Specialist Anaesthesia Trainee Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

    The article is incorrect when it states that "... in 2015, the Queen granted the college its royal charter. True independence had at last been gained ..." A glance at the footer of any printed communication sent on the college's official notepaper will reveal that the College of Emergency Medicine (as it was then named) was, in fact, incorporated by royal charter in 2008. The Privy Council granted the college its royal seal on 29 February that year, giving the college its autonomous legal identity. It had previously separated from its six parent colleges in 2006, by means of the Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine reconstituting itself as a limited company under the new name.

    The title "Royal" is a separate matter; it is not conferred by the Privy Council, and does not necessarily imply that the organisation holds a Royal Charter. It is instead a mark of favour, granted with the permission of the monarch but in practice conferred on the advice of the Ministry of Justice and, latterly, the Royal Names Team at the Cabinet Office. The process is somewhat opaque, and the CEM (as it then was) had begun seeking the royal appellation as early as 2009. Other newer medical colleges in the UK have experienced similar lag periods between their promotion to full college status and the conferral of the royal title.

    It is worth noting that royal patronage is yet another concept; the Princess Royal has served as the college's patron sinc...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.