Re: President’s Newsletter No. 5 – January 2011
Many of us understandably are very anxious about the difficult challenges posed in providing quality Emergency Medicine in the face of further diminishing resources in 2012. As we are painfully aware, stresses anywhere in the health service are felt early and most acutely in Emergency Departments (EDs) whether it is inadequate availability of community long stay beds or timely access to outpatient clinics etc. It seems certain therefore that our patients and staff will continue to require considerable help and support on our part to protect them from the worst effects of these stresses. In particular, it is up to us to ensure that, at a minimum, our patients and staff carry no more than their fair share of the burden. To that end, we must continue to ensure that our hospitals implement fair escalation policies up to and including enactment of a Full Capacity Protocol (FCP) when required.
The personal toll of this stress on our physical and mental health should not be underestimated. While doctors (and nurses) in Emergency Medicine are resilient and resourceful, we should not take for granted that we will remain totally unscathed. I would ask that each of you look after yourselves and your colleagues – take rest, take exercise, do whatever it takes to maintain your equilibrium and don’t internalise the problems of the health service or take them home to your families – I know, this is a council of perfection, but try!
Our inherent cynicism derived partly from experience and partly as a protective shell, often militates against optimism. However there is great work ongoing by IAEM members in a variety of areas; the Emergency Medicine Programme, ICEMT and the organisation of ICEM in Dublin this year are the more visible. With the imminent ICEM in mind, ICEM 2012 Steering Group members will be asking many of you as individuals for your assistance in helping to make the Dublin ICEM the best meeting of its type the specialty has seen.
Members are also involved in many other areas including voluntary work, education, EMS, guideline development and research, to mention but a few. The Association itself has consolidated legally to best suit its current function and provide a basis from which to contemplate the future organisation of the specialty in Ireland. There is much therefore for us to be proud of.
So, to the necessary characteristics of resilience and resourcefulness, let’s add a modicum of optimism for 2012. Let’s work with our colleagues in the specialty, in the specialties that interface most immediately with us and with the health service administration while, as seems at present, it is concerned with resolving the problems which concern us.
Let’s try to enjoy the sense of fulfilment which derives from providing the best care we can to our patients. They deserve the best for 2012 – so do you.
Happy New Year.
Mark Doyle FRCSI, FCEM
Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Waterford Regional Hospital
President, Irish Association for Emergency Medicine
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