Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) President Dr Stephen Gourley told the government that most parts of regional, rural, and remote (RRR) Australia don’t have enough specialist emergency healthcare staff to help people with life-threatening or urgent healthcare needs. However, other healthcare workers can be upskilled and supported, on the ground in their communities, to provide this vital care instead.
Dr Gourley met with Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health, Emma McBride, and other regional members of parliament, to discuss the urgent funding needed for the Emergency Medicine Education and Training (EMET) program to continue.
EMET – a partnership between the Federal Government and ACEM – provides education, training and supervision to doctors, nurses and paramedics working in EDs and emergency care services in RRR areas, who are not specifically trained in emergency medical care. Critically, the training is in situ, using the equipment readily available to staff, and focused on the medical events and issues typically experienced in their community. Since 2011, over 200,000 attendees have attended EMET workshops across Australia, and brought their skills back to support their communities. To continue beyond 2025, EMET needs ongoing federal government support of $13 million per annum in the 2024 – 2025 Federal Budget.
Dr Gourley said, “We all need access to good healthcare, whether we live in the city, country, desert, or coast. But Australians living outside the cities, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, have less access to healthcare. Unsurprisingly, this results in more injury, more illness, and shorter lives than people in the city. It isn’t very fair, or safe, and we need to work together on improving this.”
“The EMET program empowers local healthcare workers with the practical skills they need to care for the people that live in their own communities, when they need it the most – and it is critical that this program receives funding to continue.”
Dr Gourley, who is based in Alice Springs, encourages healthcare workers to consider working outside of the cities. “Working in the Northern Territory, or anywhere in Australia outside the cities, is a fantastic opportunity. I really enjoy it and I encourage others to consider a career in health outside of the city. The variety of medicine you can practise is vast, you work at the top of your scope, and there are lots of opportunities for career development.”

Media: Melissa Howard, [email protected] +61 427 621 857
Policy: Caitlyn O’Dowd, [email protected] + 61 498 068 023