Emergency medicine workforce

ACEM has previously expressed its commitment to addressing emergency medicine workforce needs in Australia and New Zealand, especially in rural, regional and remote areas, and in this context have been ramping up our advocacy efforts. I, along with the College Chief Executive Officer, Dr Peter White, travelled to Canberra to meet with Emeritus Professor Paul Worley, Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner.

It was a very positive meeting and a chance to reiterate our commitment to ensuring the best care for patients wherever and whenever they need it, and our willingness to work with the Rural Health Commissioner and others to address emergency care needs in rural, regional and remote communities.

Similar efforts are being made in New Zealand and have included a meeting with representatives of Health Workforce New Zealand and the New Zealand Chief Medical Officer in Wellington as well as meeting with the New Zealand Minister of Health.

College members will appreciate that this is a is a complex issue, but our role in providing a trained workforce to provide emergency care for all populations including rural, regional and remote communities continues – through the FACEM Training Program, Emergency Medicine Certificate, Emergency Medicine Diploma, the Emergency Medicine Education and Training Program, the externally-funded Specialist Training Program and the IRTP.

Additionally, the newly formed Trainee Selection and Workforce Planning Reference Group has been tasked with developing strategic policies for the consideration of the Board in the areas of the evolving emergency medicine workforce needs and jurisdictional priorities, as well as the selection of trainees into the FACEM Training Program.

It is important jurisdictions are involved in this work and we will make sure Faculties are kept up to date.

College Work Planning 2018-2021

Thinking caps are on as we develop the next Strategic Plan to guide the activities of the College.

How do we identify priorities in a complex contemporary operating environment, acknowledging the diversity of views that exists in a member-based organisation?

The way I see it, it comes down to the work we have to do, that is the “hard wired” framework and the expectation of accrediting bodies and regulators such as the Medical Board of Australia and the Medical Council of New Zealand , and the work we can choose to do.

This means the delivery of quality training in the field of emergency medicine and ongoing education, based on explicit standards, is non-negotiable.

We then come to driving an agenda that positions the college as a leading influencer in health policy and system reform. That is, advocating on system issues that affect the majority of members and trainees, such as access block.

We also recognise the broad interests of our members from geriatric and paediatric emergency medicine to Indigenous health and the development of international emergency medicine.

Making a unique contribution and considering quality patient outcomes in the emergency department is a further passion of our members and trainees.

All of this is played out under the spotlight of community expectations. For example, we are judged on cultural competency, our commitment to Indigenous health and how we treat ourselves and our colleagues in the workplace.

The Strategic Plan will be guided by information obtained from a range of sources, including the current work plans of College entities, the College’s reaccreditation report, the Membership Survey and EAG and DBSH Action Plans.

I look forward to updating you on the progress of this work.

As we plan and finalise this work our advocacy continues, with myself and Faculty representatives meeting recently with health ministers in South Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales to discuss mental health access block, access block more generally and workforce amongst other local issues.

ACEM Foundation

I would like to remind you of the fabulous work of the ACEM Foundation. Established in 2012, the Foundation contributes philanthropically towards three pillars: Emergency Medicine Research, International Emergency Medicine; and Supporting Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori doctors undertaking emergency medicine training.

The Foundation oversees a number of scholarships, grants and awards, which members and trainees are encouraged to apply for. They are open at various times throughout the year. Check them out here.

The Foundation has supported more than 100 Fellows, trainees, research projects and international emergency medicine programs.

Watch out for our upcoming appeal, and I encourage you to consider donating to the Foundation’s important work.

Until next time,