Russell Young is currently Acting Director of Emergency Medicine at Albany Hospital, Western Australia. He had a fairly long training journey to fellowship, completing Basic Surgical Training in his home county of Yorkshire, UK before moving to Australia in 2002. He first worked in Albany doing a six-month special skill in general practice as part of the Advanced Training program in Emergency Medicine in 2007 and fell in love with the Great Southern region then. He fellowed in 2012 and moved to Albany that year, being appointed Staff Specialist and then Director of Emergency Medicine Training in 2014. He has always been interested in rural health and has been a member of the Regional, Rural and Remote Committee of ACEM since 2013. His passion is Education and he is an EMST and ALS Instructor, as well as teaching on the Western Trauma Course and developing Simulation Training Days for GPs in the Great Southern. He has also just opened a Sports Medicine Clinic in Albany and names his year as Team Doctor for Hull City AFC as they competed in the English Premier League in 2008 as his dream experience.
EMET is an Australasian College of Emergency Medicine program that is aimed at supporting and training the non-specialist workforce who in the Great Southern make up 92% (61 of 66) of the permanent medical workforce staffing Emergency Departments.
The program has been instrumental in building relationships between hospitals, providing high quality education resources and offering the ability to fund Specialists to work in the rural sector in an environment where there has been a freeze on recruitment.
Albany was one of the first hospitals in WA to become a hub site in 2012. Before that time, there was little co-ordination between the 5 hospitals in the region, a large area in the South of the State serving a population of around 60,000. Education and training was piecemeal and referrals of patients to the Regional Resource Base (Albany) was at times suboptimal.
Stemming from a change in model of the Emergency Department in Albany, the Specialist-led department has utilised EMET funds to make 70 visits per annum on average to the smaller sites of Kojonup, Katanning, Mount Barker and Denmark. The Nursing posts at Bremer Bay, Ravensthorpe, Gnowangerup, Jerramungup and Hopetoun have all been visited bi-monthly on average.
The funding has helped the department grow from one main FACEM educator to four, enabling Albany to gain accreditation for training Emergency Medicine Registrars rurally. A stand-alone post has been created for GP Registrars to work full-time in Albany for 6 months and gain the Emergency Medicine Certificate. This has seen 3 successful candidates, of which 2 plan to settle in the area permanently. A Simulation training program has been instigated which goes out to each hospital in the Great Southern in turn over the year, educating and training. This knowledge of local capability helps the specialist in the Regional Resource Centre (RRC) gain a true appreciation of local logistics, aiding handovers and transfers from smaller site to the RRC.
Initial problems with the approach have stemmed from the smaller sites viewing the education as interrogational, pressured and intimidating, but the relationships built between the permanent Specialists in the region and the non-specialist practitioner have erased these fears and has led to 7 non-specialists seeking out current upskilling in the RRC.
This is a program that has transformed Emergency Care in the Great Southern and there are a myriad of opportunities to take it further.