Dr Simon Judkins updates members and trainees on recent advocacy on access block, ACEM’s Mental Health in the Emergency Department Summit, In-Training Assessments, and work to increase diversity and inclusion.

Visiting a number of hospital emergency departments across NSW recently I’m so heartened by how resilient, determined and committed our members are in the face of significant challenges.

This dedication to providing the best possible care for their patients is not at all surprising. These are teams that have great leadership and excellent engagement.

Unfortunately, we are all let down by health systems that just can’t cope with the increased demand we are seeing on hospitals and emergency departments.

The huge numbers of patients spending days in emergency departments across Australia and New Zealand has to stop.

That’s why our advocacy campaigns are important to help improve our health systems. This month we’ve had some great media coverage in the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania following the release of our latest data on access block. This is being supported with meetings with Health Ministers and CEOs of health departments, and other advocacy groups.

The College is also supporting FACEM-led research on the evidence and impacts of time-based targets or indicators. While these sorts of tools should have been a vehicle to provide resources, capacity and a system response, they have become measures for hospitals to meet that do not necessarily assist in providing good patient care. I look forward to sharing this work with you as we work to advocate for reform that benefits our patients first and foremost.

Mental Health in the Emergency Department Summit

Work and preparation is currently underway ahead of ACEM hosting our Mental Health in the Emergency Department Summit on Tuesday 16 October 2018 in Melbourne.

Our research and the experience of our members consistently shows that patients with mental health presentations disproportionately experience unacceptably long emergency department stays while they wait for inpatient mental health care. Long waits in the emergency department are extremely stressful for patients and undermine their recovery, and can be associated with restrictive interventions such as seclusion and restraint.

Our Summit will bring together key stakeholders to collaboratively discuss and agree to strategies that address discriminatory treatment practices and improve the treatment experience for this patient group.

Expect to hear more about this Summit in the coming weeks and months.

In-Training Assessments

Emergency medicine training is dynamic and one element of that is In-Training Assessments (ITAs), which track trainees’ progress against the learning outcomes in the ACEM Curriculum Framework.

Following a review of all ITAs to ensure they are fit for purpose in assessing progress of trainees as they advance through the training program, we have revised the ITAs and they now better match training stages. Check out the work.

Thanks to trainees, DEMTs, non-ED Supervisors, WBA Panels and FACEMs, and the work of the Council of Education, for all coming together to complete this important work.

Diversity and Inclusion

Our work to increase the diversity of College entities and the need to improve emergency department workplace culture is continuing, with ACEM’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group holding its inaugural meeting this month. Discover more about its work here.

As part of this work the College will be developing a Governance Diversity Action Plan, with a discussion paper to be released in the coming month seeking members’ feedback on the best way to increase diversity across College entities.

Thank you in advance for your contribution and in helping to make emergency medicine and emergency departments better.

Until next time,