It has been a pretty tough winter, with data showing ED presentations continuing to rise (it is never “unprecedented” is it?); access to health care for vulnerable patient groups getting even harder; and our hospital budgets seemingly getting tighter and tighter.
Not a great way to start off the blog! Apologies – but on the positive side, we have kicked a few goals.
The ACEM Board has a new make-up, with our first community representative, Ms Jacqui Gibson-Roos, appointed to the Board, as well as the appointment of two general FACEM members, Dr Rebecca Day from Darwin and Associate Professor Melinda Truesdale from Melbourne. All three are very worthy of the roles they have been appointed to, and I am really looking forward to the next Board meeting.
Oh, and that’s another change. Once a year, we will be taking the ACEM Board on the road. In a few weeks, our new Board members will join me and the other current Board members for their first meeting in Taupo, New Zealand, to align with the NZ ED Conference. Where to next year?  Not sure yet; we will be looking to surprise you.
As always, everyone at the College has been working hard across both Australia and New Zealand to highlight the issues of under-resourced and overcrowded EDs. While we seem to be getting plenty of support from all parties, we need to continue our advocacy.
We will soon be circulating to members our new position on ED metrics, including time-based targets, which we hope you will support. This will be a helpful advocacy tool as we continue our efforts to alleviate pressure on EDs and ensure patients receive the treatment they need in a timely fashion. We will also be working with other Colleges and organisations to garner their support; we want them on board when it comes to issues of ED overcrowding and how we fix it.
We are also about to start a big piece of work on the future of the EM workforce. While this may have a significant Australian-focus in the early days as a result of the recently released National Medical Workforce Strategy Scoping Framework by the Australian Government Department of Health, we are also aware of developments in the Ministry of Health in New Zealand, and the work will have impacts across both countries. As part of the project we will be working closely with all levels of government to map out the future EM workforce needs, to meet the requirements of all communities to deliver the care they deserve.
On top of this we have been working with Swinburne University to research the leadership challenges for ED Directors, and expect to be able to provide you with those results soon. On the back of the findings, we are planning to develop an ACEM Leadership Program for our ED Directors and aspiring Directors, to be launched in 2020. Being an ED Director is a tough gig, and we are confident that the program will provide some guidance, support and knowledge, and allow our ED leaders to take on the many challenges such a role demands.
Recently, our mental health work and advocacy has gained a lot of attention, and we expect to see more announcements forthcoming. We have provided feedback to a number of inquiries, a lot of Minsters and others. They all know the problems – now it’s time for solutions. We will keep you posted.
Something else to keep an eye out for is the second edition of Your ED, which will be out and with you soon. I hope you enjoy the latest instalment of the magazine as much as I did the first edition, and please do feel free to contact ACEM if you want to make contributions in the future.

In signing off, I’m hoping to see and catch up with many of you over the next couple of months as we lead into the Hobart ASM, and I’m looking forward to some great presentations and conversations at this weekend’s ACEM Victoria Annual Conference in Creswick.

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