Dr Simon Judkins updates members and trainees on the momentum for change to improve mental health care, following the College’s successful summit on the issue, establishing a set of ACEM core values, and next month’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Perth.

Momentum for change

It is encouraging to see moves by governments across Australia to improve mental health care, following our successful summit on the issue.

We had more than 170 emergency doctors, psychiatrists, consumers, clinicians and key decision makers discuss and agree on seven key principles to tackle Australia’s mental health crisis.
ACEM issued a communiqué after the summit, vowing to set the agenda for policy reform and declaring that “no one should stay longer than 24 hours in an emergency department”, particularly those experiencing mental health crisis.
In the wake of this we have seen some positive signs. The NT Government has taken the lead on this issue and is reporting on a 12-hour timeline. Other states really should follow this example of leadership.
The NSW Government also announced this month that people who have been admitted to hospital following an attempted suicide will, from next year, have access to aftercare services, emergency department alternatives and increased capacity to mental health programs — particularly in rural areas, where the rate of suicides is higher.
The Tasmanian Government has announced an accelerated mental health beds commitment, and we have just heard the Victorian Government commit to a Royal Commission into mental health if they are re-elected next month. While this is good news, we need change to happen now; patients, carers and staff cannot wait for action in two years. In fact, we heard at our summit new models of care that are in place now, improving patient outcomes and experience.
Overall, I am encouraged and of course the College will continue to meet with Health Ministers and CEOs of health departments to advocate for policy change and better mental health care.

ACEM Core Values
As outlined in the College’s Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment Action Plan, we will establish a set of organisational core values that clearly define expectations of Fellows, trainees and College staff. These values will be embedded into all aspects of College business.
The first step in this work saw myself and other members of the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group (DISG) brainstorm with College staff to develop a set of core values to represent the College. A consultation on these core values will go out shortly for all members and staff to have input.
Check out the highlights of that session with this video of our DISG members
The DISG has also made recommendations to the Board which will see changes to ACEM’s policies and governing bodies, and many opportunities for new FACEMs and trainees to make a contribution to a contemporary and progressive organisation.
Annual Scientific Meeting
I have November 18 circled on my calendar. That’s when this year’s Annual Scientific Meeting  kicks off in Perth. I cannot wait.
The Scientific Program is second to none and this is reflected in the keynote speakers we will hear from, the way the program has been structured and how the research will be highlighted. The social program will include an opening reception in King’s Park looking over the beautiful city skyline and a gala dinner looking over Elizabeth Quay – a brand new inlet reuniting the river and the city. Multiple activities will be planned throughout the week including fun runs, cycling, yoga and river cruises. Families will also be catered for with multiple suggestions for daily activities.
There is still time to register. I look forward to seeing you there.
Until next time,