To explore solutions to this complex problem, QUT will host a free public forum on Wednesday, July 10 with seven top emergency researchers and front-line practitioners in a panel format that will consider strategies to moderate and manage demand.
Professor Gerry Fitzgerald, who is the director of QUT’s newly established Centre for Emergency and Disaster Management (CEDM), said approaches to reducing the emergency department bottleneck such as 24-hour health helplines, increased after-hour GP access and predictive modelling of patient flows had failed to address the problem.
“Delays in treatment in emergency departments directly and indirectly affect the health and wellbeing of patients,” Professor Fitzgerald said.
“There is no one solution to overcrowding of our emergency departments but there are a number of things we can do.
“We have brought together health professionals working at the coalface and in research to discuss the most viable ways to reduce demand and move patients through emergency either back home or into hospital.
“We know emergency department congestion is not a problem because people are unwilling to pay to see their GP – there is no evidence of that.
“Those who come to emergency departments are sick people. The rise in demand is coming from population growth, an ageing population as well as an upsurge in more urgent trauma patients across the age spectrum.
“There are not enough beds in hospitals and so often patients are there for a long time waiting for a bed to become available.”
ABC journalist Chris O’Brien will moderate the Emergency Department Congestion: Diagnosis and Treatment? forum with a panel comprising:
• Dr Anthony Bell, director of emergency medicine at QEII Hospital
• Professor Julie Considine, professor of nursing at Deakin University.
• Professor Gerry Fitzgerald, QUT School of Public Health head and CEDM director.
• Rachael Krinks, Griffith University PhD student conducting research for an ARC Linkage project on engaging the public in healthcare decision making.
• Dr Alex Markwell, immediate past president of the Australian Medical Association – Queensland.
• Janelle Miles, medical reporter, Courier Mail
• Richard Royale, executive director UnitingCare Health.
• Professor Vivienne Tippett, professor of clinical sciences at QUT.
What: Emergency Department Congestion: Diagnosis and Treatment? forum
When: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
6.30pm registration, welcome drinks and canapés
Where: Room Three-Sixty, Level 10, Y Block, Gardens Point Campus.
Register: Register by COB Monday, July 8, 2013 at http://anyvite.com/6cvtvu100a.
The QUT Centre for Emergency and Disaster Management (CEDM) conducts interdisciplinary research to reduce the impacts of emergencies and disasters on health, community and infrastructure. The Centre facilitates and enhances interdisciplinary collaboration between QUT researchers and our industry and research partners, and promotes the field of emergency and disaster management research as an emerging, selective area of research concentration and strength at QUT.
Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2999 or [email protected]