Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Emergency Medicine Physicians Call For Ed Funding To Better Support Patients

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Emergency Medicine Physicians Call For Ed Funding To Better Support Patients

The NZ Faculty of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), which represents emergency medicine specialists from public hospital emergency departments, says that the implication that hospital emergency departments are being stretched by patients who should be seen by their primary care practitioners is false. Further, trying to divert patients away from emergency departments when they have bona fide emergencies is simply not working.

The NZ Chair of ACEM, Dr John Bonning, believes that funding should instead be provided for emergency department physicians to better care for patients who are sick and injured but who may not be in a life-threatening situation. "We have statistics that show that around 10% of patients we see could be seen in a primary care situation. However, these people represent only 2% of our workload and resource. This is clearly not stretching our emergency departments," he said. "It is clear to us that the overcrowding of EDs is caused by blockages and bed shortages further down the line."

A recent survey of all NZ hospital EDs supports this. A significant increase of ill and injured patients over the festive season occurred in nearly all NZ hospitals. The majority of these presentations were not for minor problems - they were for patients requiring hospital treatment or admission.

Dr Bonning suggests that an improved primary care strategy which focuses on better after-hours care at an affordable cost, reinforcing peoples' relationships with their GPs and better chronic illness management will help to reduce ED demand. However, this is not the complete solution. "We believe that better resourced emergency departments where nurse specialists can help to stream and treat those patients with relatively minor problems is a much better long-term solution," he said. "People are generally making the right decision on when to attend hospital emergency departments and we should support this. Further, we frequently get to see patients who have been referred by their GPs to be seen by Accident and Medical Centres but have problems that are too complex for that level of care. These people get excellent care in their hospital emergency departments."

Dr Bonning also believes that better electronic links between hospital EDs and primary care which facilitates prompt and reliable sharing of information between parties will allow for much better patient care. This is going to increase in importance as the NZ population ages and conditions become more complex to treat.

All articles and comments on Voxy.co.nz have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.