The head of the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia will tour Queensland hospitals today, meeting members and trainees, and calling on the state government to end the rhetoric and put patients first.
As part of the trip, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) President Dr Simon Judkins will visit Logan and Redland hospitals, two of the worst in state for ambulance ramping.
Emergency departments regularly face overcrowding and access block pressures due to systemic pressures across the hospital and health care environment. To help relieve demand, ACEM has called for action around the core issues of staffing levels, funding and increased bed capacity, and better management of chronic disease and improved community-based care.
“The problems at these two hospitals, Cairns Hospital and many others across Queensland, are well known,” Dr Judkins said. ““Rises in emergency department presentations are happening everywhere. It’s predictable and can be managed.
“Our members and trainees are on the frontline, providing the expert care they have dedicated their lives to, but often are let down by the system.
“That is, we know the demand for emergency medicine health care is increasing and evolving every day, yet measures supposedly to combat this are implemented without consultation.”
For example, the rapid transfer process brought in is leaving vulnerable community members at risk. “This is nothing more than dumping patients unattended,” Dr Judkins said. “The handover process does not factor in the clinical reality of emergency departments and is a threat to the welfare of patients.
“We are not singling out the ambulance service, paramedics or nurses, all who face the same reality and do a wonderful job. Rather, it is leadership at the top of hospitals that must realise frontline emergency department staff must be empowered to lead quality care improvement initiatives across the health system.”
ACEM Queensland Faculty Chair Dr Kim Hansen said: “ACEM is keen to work with the government, hospital leadership and health department executives to develop the actions to improve patient outcomes.”
Dr Judkins will also use the trip to call for better protections for hospital staff.
Emergency physician Dr Michael Cameron, who is a Fellow of the College, recently spoke out about patient conditions at Redland Hospital.
“Experts like Dr Cameron must be listened to, and the College will always support its members and trainees advocating for better patient care,” Dr Judkins said.
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au
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