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Sport and exercise medicine in the United Kingdom is awarded specialty status, but now the real work begins, to deliver on promises made
The 21 February 2005 proved to be a red letter day for sport and exercise (SEM) medicine in the United Kingdom, as the Department of Health announced that it was approving the application for specialty status submitted in early 2004. This ended a process that began in 1998 with the formation of the Intercollegiate Academic Board of Sport and Exercise Medicine (IABSEM), under the auspices the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Progress was slow until early 2003, when the intervention of the Minister of Sport led to an educational forum and the subsequent formation of a working party tasked with developing the application. The working party consisted of medical professionals, representatives of UK Sport, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and the Department of Health. The application had to clearly establish that the creation of a new medical specialty was the best and most effective way of answering a service need, or exceptionally a national need. The working party were able to argue for the recognition of SEM on both counts, and furthermore make a case based on the other 11 principles for new specialties as set out in the 2001 Department of Health document, “Developing specialties in medicine”.
The timing was favourable, as the government was increasingly turning its attention to strategies to defuse the public health time bomb posed by …