Five year strategy for development of Emergency Medicine in Ireland

Fergel Hicky

A five year strategy for the development of Emergency Medicine in Ireland has been drawn up by the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine.

The Association wants to more than double the number of Consultants in Emergency Medicine so that each Emergency Medicine Department providing round the clock services is under the supervision of a Consultant in the specialty. This it  says, is necessary to deliver safe, quality and efficient emergency care in line with international best practice

There were over 1.3 million attendances at Emergency Departments (EDs) and Injury Units in Ireland in 2019 and the number and complexity of presentations continues to rise year on year.

At present, there are over 100 Consultant posts in EM and the Association says the current configuration of 29 Emergency Departments and 11 IUs would need to be staffed by at least 252 Consultants in EM to ensure each Department is under the supervision of an EM Consultant.

As of January 2020, there were 29 hospitals in the Republic of Ireland that offered Emergency Department (ED) services on a 24/7 basis. In addition, there are 11 Injury Units (IUs) and together these units make up the infrastructure of EM in Ireland. Currently, nine of the 29 hospitals that

offer ED services on a 24/7 basis do so without having a named Consultant in EM available and clinically accountable for the patients registering in the ED at all times of opening, a situation that IAEM has deemed unacceptable. Included within the model of care for PEM is the further development of emergency care for children outside Dublin and a national trauma network for paediatrics.

The IAEM is also on record as taking the view that Ireland currently has too many EDs and reconfiguration is required.

The Association says there is wide variation in the physical structures of EDs across the country. Many still have poor infrastructure and are poorly resourced. 

The strategy has five objectives:

Strategic Objective 1 Communicate with patients and the general public about what to expect from Emergency Medicine

Strategic Objective 2 Describe a system of Emergency Medicine in Ireland that ensures every person has timely access to quality emergency medical care.

Strategic Objective 3 Advocate for patients by highlighting the adverse impact of inadequate resources.

Strategic Objective 4 Further develop training and research in Emergency Medicine

Strategic Objective 5 Strengthen  both internal IAEM structures and relationships with other bodies that have a role in Irish Emergency Medicine.