WONCA Special Interest Group: Emergency Medicine

Emergency Medicine

A new WONCA Special Interest Group on emergency Medicine was approved by the WONCA Council in October 2016. Membership is open to interested family doctors. 


Emergency medicine/urgent care is an important domain of care within the scope of family medicine and general practice. Family medicine encompasses the care of persons and families of all ages, both sexes, every organ system and every disease entity from its acute presentation to its chronic management. Many family doctors practice in an emergency medicine/urgent care setting. In the 2015 membership census at the American Academy of Family Physicians, nearly 25% of members describe urgent care or emergency medicine as part of their scope of practice. In Canada, there are over 3000 family doctors who hold a certificate of special competency in emergency medicine. In addition, there are several thousands more family doctors who provide emergency medicine as part of a comprehensive continuing practice. In many low middle income countries (LMIC), it is primarily the general practitioners who provide acute medical care to patients in the rural community health centres and larger regional centres. The disease states encountered in both an urgent care and emergency medicine setting are very much within the scope of family medicine. The goal of family medicine is not to train emergency medicine specialists, but rather to ensure the scope of practice of family medicine remains being able to care for all patient populations in varied settings including urgent/emergency care in a competent and compassionate manner.

Convenor / Chair

Convenor: Dr Victor Ng (Canada)

Dr. Victor Ng is an Assistant Professor and Consultant Physician in the Department of Family and Emergency Medicine at the University of Western Ontario. His academic interests are primarily in medical education with teaching responsibilities at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Dr. Ng is highly involved with teaching in the CCFP(EM) program as well as teaching the emergency medicine course to family medicine residents.

Within the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), he currently serves in a leadership role as the Physician Advisor, Division of Continuing Professional Development and Practice Support. In the past, he has served as the Associate Director, Family Physicians with Special Interests or Focused Practices and as a member of the National Board of Directors. He has sat on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Canadian Family Physician Journal and was a member of the National Committee on Continuing Professional Development at the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

In WONCA, Dr. Ng is a member of the Working Party on Education and Working Party on Rural Practice Council. He led the development of the WONCA Global Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Standards. He also serves as the CFPC senior staff advisor for WONCA Polaris, the North American Region's Young Doctor Movement. Dr. Ng is well published in peer reviewed journals in the areas of medical education and has presented nationally and internationally on the topic.

email convenor

Co-Convenor or other office bearers

Executive Members

Membership Open?

Vision and Mission of WONCA SIG on Emergency Medicine

Objectives of the WONCA SIG on Emergency Medicine

a) Ensure strong, diverse member engagement with representation from all WONCA regions.

b) Produce urgent care/emergency medicine sessions/workshops at WONCA conferences including an approach to common office based emergencies that may arise.

c) Advocate for a strong generalist education and practice model with a wide clinical scope including emergency medicine in urban and rural settings across all WONCA regions.

d) Liaise with other WONCA working parties and SIGs to collaborate on overlapping projects.

e) Collaborate with WONCA members to develop guidelines/approaches relating to urgent/emergency care based on community need and adaptable based on local resources.

f) Investigate and collaborate on adoption of new technologies to aid in care delivery. E.g. point of care testing (working with the WONCA Point of Care SIG) and point of care ultrasound to optimize patient care and augment diagnostic abilities of general practitioners.

g) Assist WONCA in policy and advocacy activities as it relates to urgent or emergency care.


Publications & Documents


Potential Areas of Collaboration with established WONCA Working Parties and Special Interest Groups:

The SIG on conflict and catastrophic medicine and migrant health would be natural partners for collaboration. While the scope of these SIGs extends beyond clinical acute care medicine, there may be some alignment in our work plans in planning workshops and advocacy material for family doctors. There are also opportunities to work with the SIG on migrant health to provide learning opportunities and practice support materials to assist family doctors caring for displaced persons, particularly in an acute medicine setting.

Some other logical areas of collaborations are with the working party on rural practice and education working party. From the perspective of rural practice, many family doctors practice acute medicine as part of their continuing comprehensive care. As such, there would likely be a need to provide clinically relevant workshops in this area for professional development. From the education perspective, the SIG can assist advocacy in family medicine training to include multiple domains of care including acute care medicine such that family doctors who graduate from training have the necessary knowledge (competencies) to practice full scope and able to respond to community needs.

There would also be an opportunity to partner with the Working party on mental health. As acute mental health and addiction conditions are seen in urgent care/emergency medicine settings, discussions regarding the care of these patients are important. The development of standards or a guidance document may help our colleagues in practice - ensuring safe and compassionate care. Finally, the concept of transition of care between family doctors in the emergency department and the clinic could be explored. This would be particularly important for patients receiving palliative care or elderly patients. Collaboration and joint projects can be undertaken with the respective SIGs to address this.


Relevant Resources