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We are delighted that our paper  has stimulated a response from overseas colleagues, who have shared with us some Australasian opinions.
Whilst we agree that adopting the term 'emergency medicine' would bring us into line with international standard terminology, the fact remains that 'accident and emergency' appeals to many, and debate will continue as long as practice between and within United Kingdom...
Whilst we agree that adopting the term 'emergency medicine' would bring us into line with international standard terminology, the fact remains that 'accident and emergency' appeals to many, and debate will continue as long as practice between and within United Kingdom departments varies so widely. For example, some accident and emergency consultants have greater experience in the management of patients with minor musculoskeletal injury - a major component of our workload - than in the resuscitation of critically ill medical patients. In addition a significant number of consultants draw private income from medicolegal reports, specialising in 'accidents', which at such a stage cannot be considered 'emergencies'. Such arguments have been put forward by our colleagues in support of retaining the word 'accident' in our title.
That terms such as 'Casualty' or 'Accident and Emergency' are derogatory is a matter of opinion. Of greater relevance is that disagreement continues not only over our name, but also regarding our specialty's key direction and consultants' future working patterns in a climate of increasing public demand, limited staffing and resources, and uncertainty over the future structure of emergency health care in the National Health Service. That is what makes emergency medicine such a fascinating specialty to be in, and the formation of a College of Emergency Medicine such a critical step in defining a unified direction for the specialty, whatever we in the United Kingdom finally agree to call it.
(1) Reid C, Chan L. Emergency Medicine Terminology in the United Kingdom - time to follow the trend? Emerg Med J 2001;18:79-80
The paper on Emergency Medicine terminology by Reid and Chan  has stimulated me to write this letter. As an Australian emergency physician who works in a Department of Emergency Medicine, I view the debate on the naming of our specialty in the United Kingdom with some bewilderment and concern. What should be clearcut has somehow been usurped.
In October 1991, the International Federation of Emergenc...
In October 1991, the International Federation of Emergency Medicine defined the appropriate terminology as 'Emergency Medicine'. The United Kingdom was a founding member and agreed to this definition!
Following this, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) produced a position paper on standard terminology. This paper states that older terms such as 'casualty' and 'accident and emergency' should be actively discouraged. 
At the same time, the then president of ACEM wrote a paper titled: 'Why "Emergency Department" - not "Casualty" or "Accident and Emergency" which was published in Emergency Medicine.  I recommend this paper to all readers. In summary , older terms such as "Casualty" or "A&E" are derogatory as the underlying thrust is that the standard of care in the emergency department is "not up to scratch." "Casualty" implies "casual treatment by casual doctors for casual patients." The term "Accident & Emergency" is an absurd tautology.
Words are powerful implements because they shape our thoughts.  When someone uses the term "Emergency Department" (or "ED"), they are connoting a facility that provides a decent standard of care for every member of the community, from minor ailments through to life threatening conditions.
It is time for the standard terminology to be adopted and used in the United Kingdom To not use standard terminology is an anathema to our speciality. If the speciality cannot agree on this, then we will be the casualty and this will be no accident!
(1) Reid C, Chan L. Emergency Medicine terminology in the United Kingdom -time to follow the trend? Emerg Med J 2001; 18:79-80
(2) http://www .acem.org.au/open/documents/standard.htm
(3) Epstein J. Why Emergency Department" ~ not "Casualty" or " Accident and Emergency". Emergency Medicine 1991 ;3 :70- 73
I think readers will be interested in the fact that the Medical
Council (Ireland) recently approved a petition from the practitioners to
change the name of the specialty from Accident & Emergency Medicine to
Emergency Medicine, in line with international practice.
All the consultants in the specialty in this country are FFAEM.
You might wish to know that there were misgivings from t...
You might wish to know that there were misgivings from the higher
echelons in the ranks of RCPI, but the RCSI backed our wishes.
For once, it would appear we have led the way, rather than following
the UK, which is the norm!!