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Development of the specialty of emergency medicine in Israel: comparison with the UK and US models
  1. P Halpern1,
  2. Y Waisman2,
  3. I P Steiner3
  1. 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel
  2. 2Unit of Emergency Medicine, Schneider National Children’s Hospital, Petach Tikva, Israel
  3. 3Department of Family Medicine and Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr P Halpern
 Department of Emergency Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, 6 Weizman Street, Tel Aviv 64239, Israel;


Objectives: To describe the development of emergency medicine (EM) in Israel and review the specific problems faced by the discipline and describe the solutions that were found.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted for data on development of EM in the UK and in North America, and the personal knowledge of two of the authors (PH and YW) was used in preparing the article.

Results: There are differences in development of EM between Israel and the UK/US models. In Israel the specialty developed within the context of established high quality clinical practice and consequently it met resistance from the system, which did not wish to invest in what it felt might be marginal improvements in patient care. The economics of Israeli medicine also dictated that EM be made into a super-specialty rather than a primary specialty. Certified specialists from family medicine, paediatrics, internal medicine, general surgery, anaesthesia, and orthopaedic surgery can access training positions in EM. Currently there are seven active EM programmes of 2.5 years duration and 16 residents. The curriculum is flexible and a national certification examination is being developed.

Conclusions: Development of EM can and should take different paths according to the specific local needs and realities. There is no single ideal model suitable for all circumstances. The practice of clinical EM in Israel is comparable with that of any developed country and daily progress is being made in the academic areas of teaching and research. There are worldwide similarities in the process of developing EM as a distinct discipline.

  • ED, emergency department
  • EM, emergency medicine
  • TC, trauma centre
  • CME, continuing medical education
  • EP, emergency physician
  • certification residency

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  • The Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Schneider National Children’s Hospital are both affiliated with the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Isreal.