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Looking back and forward: emergency medicine in its 50th year
  1. Tajek B Hassan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tajek B Hassan, Bream’s Buildings, Royal College of Emergency Medicine, London EC4A 1DT, UK; President{at}

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The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see – Winston Churchill.

On this 50th anniversary of our specialty in the UK, we should rightly remember and pay thanks to the giants and also unsung heroes of our specialty. With tenacity and political skill, they took our EDs from a ‘Cinderella like’ dark corner of the hospital to the very highest profile central hub for delivering emergency care 24 hours a day. It is a powerful journey indeed and one to be justly proud of.

Beginning from the Casualty Surgeons Association to the British Association for Emergency Medicine, those in the forefront took our specialty through the Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine, then the College of Emergency Medicine and now the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM).1–3 Subspecialisation has occurred in paediatric emergency medicine, prehospital care and critical care medicine.4 Our colleagues in emergency nursing have developed a specialty of their own, creating a strong symbiotic relationship with medical staff that is unique to the hospital environment, paving the way for new added roles of advanced nursing practitioner roles that will be key to our future workforce resilience.5 As if that was not enough, it is also worth noting the leading and collaborative roles that our fellows from the UK and Ireland have played in the creation of the International Federation for Emergency Medicine and European Society for Emergency Medicine. These organisations which have gone from strength to strength and with our own international College work have …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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