ACEM President Dr Simon Judkins said: “It is incumbent on the Palaszczuk Government that this investment is targeted to ensure it addresses systemic issues faced by emergency doctors and nurses on a daily basis, such as access block, patient flow and ambulance ramping.
“We are keen to work with the Government in order to bring about positive improvement and committed to advocating strongly for a system that puts the patient first.”
ACEM Queensland Faculty Chair Dr Kim Hansen said the investment in hospital infrastructure provided an opportunity to work with the Government to deliver better emergency care for all Queenslanders. “ACEM considers it essential that Members’ clinical expertise is included in the design, development and build of any new hospital and emergency department, or for any re-development works commenced or finalised as a result of this Budget,” Dr Hansen said.
Mental health care
ACEM has been outspoken that emergency departments are seeing an increasing number of patients with acute mental and behavioural conditions across all age groups.
“Funding to community-based and inpatient mental health and alcohol and other drug services is needed. Many mental health presentations to the emergency department occur as a result of chronic underfunding,” Dr Hansen said.
While noting the investment in the budget aims to drive improved emergency access, ACEM argues emergency departments should not carry the burden. “We often work under ‘peak’ demands, with little or no capacity available to respond to significant patient demand increases/challenges like the winter flu. We need a whole of hospital approach, including an increase in inpatient beds and staff, to ensure positive patient outcomes over this flu season,” Dr Hansen said.
Violence in emergency departments
There are still too many instances across Queensland that serve as a reminder of the dangers faced by healthcare workers across Australia and New Zealand. ACEM believes any workplace, including hospitals, should be safe, and free of the threat of violence. “We urge all stakeholders and the Government to work together on a comprehensive whole-of-system approach to eradicate violence in our hospitals,” Dr Hansen said.