ESA 2020 General Assembly - Message from the Presidents

The European Society of Anaesthesiology strives to maintain the highest standards of practice and patient safety and fosters an exchange of information between our global community. Intensive Care (IC) is a significant part of this community – a recent survey conducted by the ESA showed almost 70% of the beds in ICU’s are run by anaesthesiologists and more than 60% of European National Societies involved in Anaesthesiology and IC have already or would agree to add IC in their name. However, Intensive Care is not reflected in our society name.

The proposal to introduce an addition to the name (Intensive Care) was unanimously supported by the ESA Council members, further reinforcing this need. Additionally, early this year, we had a meeting with leaders from the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) and from this meeting came an agreement on a common belief between our societies that Intensive Care Medicine should only be based on competencies. ESA and ESICM have decided that they have a common goal. They accept the competencies set out in the endorsed ETR of UEMS of 2014, which they agree are still valid.

Intensive Care professionals should have a primary speciality, of at least 4 years, and have trained in an ICU for two years within or above a primary speciality.  These two years are to be based on the competencies ratified by UEMS in Granada. Each country should find ways to assess the achievement of the competencies.

But despite our meeting and mutually agreed upon definitions, ESICM has recently challenged our bid to add intensive care to our society name and has vocally expressed this opinion by letter to the ESA Presidents and by reaching out to its members via their website and emails. We have addressed their initial concerns in a letter back to their Presidents, which you can also read HERE.

Moreover, in medical, political, and economic terms, ICM is one of the most important fields in healthcare – and will most probably be even more so in the future (high demand, high quality of care with advanced technology, few beds, high costs), but the public is rarely aware of who runs such a vital part of the healthcare system. The ESA is strongly committed to public awareness as well as advocating for a European and nationally coordinated intensive care approach. Our increased visibility will help to not only educate public knowledge around the role of the anaesthesiologist but will also raise awareness of the profile of the anaesthesiologist for important benefactors, such as European lawmakers and our Industry supporters.

While the ESA does not currently include IC in our name, our primary exam does. In fact, our renowned European examination, covering the relevant basic sciences and clinical subjects appropriate for a specialist anaesthesiologist, is called European Diploma in Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (EDAIC) and is based on the European Training Requirements in Anaesthesiology (ETR), recently licensed by the European Board of Anaesthesiology (EBA) and approved by the UEMS, which encompasses all the extended competencies of the Anaesthesiology practice including perioperative period, intensive care medicine, critical emergency medicine and pain medicine, which in many countries are integrated parts of our speciality.

As mentioned in a letter of support by the World Federation Of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) for the inclusion of intensive care in our society name, attached, the ESA has a proven record of intensive care medicine as a part of our activities, education and examination and research. Adding intensive care to the name of our society is imperative, now more than ever, as we work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic and to unite our global community. You can read the full letter of support HERE.

The ESA should, and will continue to, accurately represent our full community of health care professionals who are working together to not only raise the standards of the profession and patient safety but to end a global pandemic.

We thank you for your support and dedication to your profession as we work together to create a better future.


Best regards,

In name of the ESA Board of Directors


Prof. Kai Zacharowski                        Prof. Stefan De Hert
ESA President                                      ESA Past-President



ESA reply to ESCIM
WFSA Letter of Support