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Article 1. Introduction—St Jude's, the “virtual” A&E department
  1. J Wardrope,
  2. S McCormick
  1. Departement of Accident and Emergency Medicine, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Mr Wardrope (Jim.Wardrope{at}

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What is management and what is SIMS?

There are a range of definitions of “management”.13 A useful concise definition is “management is the organisation and motivation of groups of people to achieve planned objectives”. Management is part of every day accident and emergency (A&E) consultant practice. Many readers in a recent survey requested more articles on management topics. The journal has for some time been running a series on such issues424 and this will serve as a good grounding for this new venture where we hope to apply the theory to “real” situations. Management in A&E is a dynamic process with many inputs and outputs, conflicting demands and objectives, the conflicting priority of clinical work and managerial work. The aim of this series is to try and make management problems to come alive by creating a “virtual A&E department”. This will be part of a large district general hospital, St Jude's. The hospital will have characters, the hard but fair chief executive, a less than helpful medical director and “unfocused” colleagues. There will be everyday problems such as dealing with complaints, long waiting times and staff recruitment.

The series, how will this work?

Each article will have five different sections (see box 1). Three of these will be in the journal and two will be on the internet. Space is at a premium in the journal but to make this creation real, we need to communicate budgets, rotas, waiting time profiles and other documents. Therefore we will use the web to provide this information. The internet also gives an opportunity for you to provide feedback (see below). This article is different to the rest in the series as we are trying to establish concepts, but subsequent articles will contain the following key elements (box 1).

The journal “in tray tasks” contains, in shorthand, the management tasks that …

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  • Conflicts of interest: JW is editor of EMJ but this series was conceived and approved before commencing this post.