Introduction by Croakey: Emergency departments are often thought of as the canary in the coalmine, but what do we do when the canary is clearly in distress?
Dr Simon Judkins, President of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), started a much-needed conversation about Australia’s overburdened emergency departments back in September with a post to coincide with national RUOK Day.
In response, an anonymous emergency clinician penned this searing, heartfelt account of the very real pressures ED workers face every day. If you haven’t yet read it, we’d very much encourage you to do so.
While only one person’s story, it resonated with and captured the experience of many, reflecting a system underresourced and overwhelmed, according to Judkins, who wrote an open letter in reply — below — calling for courageous reform.
Simon Judkins writes:
You are not anonymous to me; I know you.
You treat them better with specialist oversight and so FACEMS 24/7 should be funded to provide that
You can’t street them unless you have access to inpatient beds (better use of inpatient beds – yes, care awaiting placement and inappropriate admissions are still things) and better clinical handover to primary care GPs will reduce bounce back and improve patient care
The funding model needs to reflect this
Because hospital EDs are a volume model at the moment for funding so there really isn’t the institutional drive to reduce demand
A recurring thought at GP19 was the embedding of GPwSI in non GP specialist hospital areas to improve these areas – works in Queensland but I think SA have spent all the $ on bricks and mortar.
GPs can help!
And for other doctors – including our great colleagues in hospitals and their Emergency Departments…we can help too! Clinical Handover is awesome – we can all do better!