Clang, clang, clang, went the trolley…

Earlier today, IEMTA, the Irish Emergency Medicine Trainees’ Association were in the news for a letter they sent to Irish statutory body HIQA ( the Health Information and Quality Authority) highlighting the dangerous level of overcrowding that’s currently happening in Irish EDs. You can read about it here.

It was the lead item on the national lunchtime news here. Some thoughts…

– Well done to the specialist registrars and BSTEM SHOs who make up the IEMTA membership. I think it’s healthy that non-consultant hospital doctors feel that they can highlight an issue like this with it’s known direct links to patient morbidity and mortality.

– Conversely, the parent organisation for emergency medicine in Ireland, IAEM, the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine (of which I am a member) has been shockingly quiet on the surge across the country for the past 2+weeks that has crippled Irish EDs. I’ve checked the website to make sure I haven’t missed a press release or statement, but there’s nothing there.
EDIT on 24/1/14: Three days later, there’s an official supportive IAEM response.

– Watching the report on the news, there was no effort to reach IAEM or seek an opinion. There was no “we contacted IAEM for a statement of support” or any sign that IAEM needed to be part of this discussion or debate from the seasoned RTE medical reporter. Not a good sign.

– It was striking on the news that the IEMTA doctors were called senior specialists, which they mostly are. Usually all non-consultant doctors get labelled as junior doctors which I believe gives the impression to the general public that it’s the same thing as a medical student.

However, I have a criticism for IEMTA: They need to maintain ownership of this issue. My worry is that the IEMTA’s place in the headlines today will be forgotten by tomorrow, especially against the HSE. IEMTA have not generated a social media presence to field questions related to their letter. There is no IEMTA Twitter account. Its president, Dr Aileen McCabe is not present on Twitter. There is a website which has been updated to reflect today’s events. IEMTA are all full time doctors; it doesn’t have a media unit or head of communications, but mastering a little social media presence to maintain impact shouldn’t be too hard. After today, they could tweet the daily trolley figures for follow up…


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