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Sport and exercise medicine in the UK: what lies beyond the crossroads?
  1. Katherine Rose Marino1,2,
  2. Natasha Jones3,4,
  3. Claire Small5,6,
  4. Natalie Shur7,8,
  5. Robin Chatterjee1,9,
  6. Jonathan Power10,
  7. Lucy Wright1,11,
  8. Eleanor Tillett1,12,
  9. Dane Vishnubala1,10
  1. 1 British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Doncaster, UK
  2. 2 Keele University, Keele, UK
  3. 3 Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
  4. 4 Faculty Of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Edinburgh, UK
  5. 5 Pure Sports Medicine, London, UK
  6. 6 Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  7. 7 University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  8. 8 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, Nottingham, UK
  9. 9 Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health (ISEH), London, UK
  10. 10 University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  11. 11 University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  12. 12 University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Katherine Rose Marino, British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK; katie.marino{at}

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In 2009. Cullen published ‘Crossroads or threshold? Sport and exercise medicine (SEM) as a specialty in the UK’.1 The editorial describes a ‘crossroads’ created by establishing SEM registrar posts but a lack of SEM National Health Service (NHS) consultant posts. The ‘threshold’ relates to the potential opportunities of establishing adequate SEM consultant posts to service the general population in the UK. In this editorial, the authors will examine ‘what lies beyond the crossroads’ and explore how the medical specialty of SEM in the UK has developed, the current challenges faced and discuss the recent vote (May 2023) in favour of dissolving the two largest SEM UK organisations to combine and reform as a college of SEM.

State of play: SEM in the UK

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM), along with the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board), is responsible for the specialist SEM training programme. The British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM), whose formation dates back to 1952, provides SEM education to its multidisciplinary membership. SEM first became a medical specialty in the UK in 2005.1 Since then there has been significant growth, now with 19 NHS trusts employing SEM Consultants and 180 physicians on the SEM Specialist Register.2 3 This number continues to grow, with an average of …

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  • Contributors KRM created the initial draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to edits and final approval.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.