Professor Gordian Fulde, the pioneering emergency medicine specialist who has been awarded Senior Australian of the Year in the 2016 Australia Day honours, has used his acceptance speech to advocate against alcohol and drug-fuelled violence.
Professor Fulde, who is one of the founding fathers of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) and whose long tenure at St Vincent’s Hospital has seen him recognised as the longest serving emergency department director in Australia, said that he wanted to use the attention brought by the Australia Day honour to reach out to the community and change attitudes to alcohol.
“We need a whole-of-system approach to tackle the problem of excessive alcohol consumption,” Professor Fulde said, “That includes things like opening hours and alcohol taxation and advertising but it also means the community reaches a point where it’s sick of the devastation caused by excess drinking and demands change.”
“The community has to say, enough is enough, then legislation and regulations will change.”
Professor Fulde’s involvement in Australasian emergency medicine goes back to its beginnings.
“My friend Joe Epstein was the second ACEM president and I was his vice-President, back in the 80s,” Professor Fulde recalls, “There was a handful of us who wanted to improve the standard of emergency care that Australasians received.”
“Today, thanks to the work of numerous people over a long period of time, you come to an ED anywhere in Australia and you’re met with a service that’s as good as anywhere in the world.”
President of ACEM, Associate Professor Anthony Lawler praised Professor Fulde’s achievement and his lifelong dedication to his patients.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to congratulate Gordian on this well-deserved recognition,” said Associate Professor Lawler, “As one of the founding fathers of the College and a member of ACEM for over thirty years, he has demonstrated the kind of leadership, professionalism and patient-centred care that embodies emergency medicine at its best.”