As the profile of Acute Medicine grows, the development of an academic limb to the specialty is a logical and necessary step. This edition of the journal features an article written by Professor Derek Bell, the first chair of Acute Medicine, who took up this appointment in Imperial College, London earlier this year. Subtitled ‘a unique opportunity to improve healthcare’, the article highlights the importance of developing a solid research base for the specialty. Clearly acute physicians are, almost by definition, busy people; our over-stretched work schedules will make it difficult to identify time to develop a research programme. Reduced funding for non-clinical sessions is likely to increase pressure on ‘non-essential’ activities, as viewed by our employers. However it is clear from speaking to colleagues at meetings that acute medical units across the UK remain a rich environment for clinical and process-related research. This can only be good news for the future of our specialty, as well as for this journal. I am delighted that Professor Bell has agreed to join our Editorial board, and hope that this will encourage submissions of suitable research studies for consideration of publication in this journal in the future.

Derek Bell’s appointment to the editorial board is one of a number of changes I can report since publication of the last edition. Philip Gothard, consultant in infectious diseases from the School of Tropical Medicine joins us to provide expertise in this field. Nik Patel from Eastbourne replaces Rhid Dowdle as cardiology subeditor, while Phil Dyer will provide endocrine expertise in place of Martin Taylor. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Martin and Rhid for all of their hard work and support over the past 4 years.

In my last editorial I commented on the need to re-examine the structure of the journal, given that the 5 year review cycle is coming to an end. In discussion at an editorial board meeting it was decided that the cycle of reviews should continue, and will remain predominantly ‘diagnosis’ based (ie ‘Management of Acute Coronary Syndrome’, etc) rather than problemorientated (‘the patient with chest pain’), although where appropriate the latter may feature periodically. Most of these will be commissioned from experts in the relevant fields, although readers with a specific interest in writing a review of a particular area are welcome to contact me directly. Please also keep submissions coming in – we have had a dramatic increase in the number of articles received over the past few months, and many of these should be included in forthcoming editions. Case reports need not ref lect unusual or esoteric presentations, but should have a clear teaching message for a general / acute medicine readership. Audits will also be considered, provided the audit cycle has been completed with a clear indication of how improvements in practice can be achieved.


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