The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM) will join other European countries in marking 27th May as international Emergency Medicine Day. The aim of this initiative of the European Society for Emergency Medicine (EuSEM) is to bring together the general population and decision-makers to look at Emergency Medicine (EM) and emergency medical care and determine how best it should be provided.
Health services for people suffering from an acute illness or injury should be part of a well-organized emergency medical system. It is well-established at this stage that proper organization of care in emergencies such as stroke, sepsis, cardiac arrest and major trauma can save lives and reduce disability. Emergency medical care therefore should be easily accessible, free for all and should be of the highest quality everywhere, irrespective of geography.
Where the specialty of EM has yet to be developed; where emergency medical systems are not well structured; where competencies are not standardized and certified or where resources for EM are insufficient, there needs to be a strong voice to advocate for change for better patient outcomes. Although EM in Ireland is well-established and decades old, with the first Consultant appointment in the specialty being in 1974 and IAEM itself being 30 years old this year, the priority EM has historically received for development and funding has not accorded with its pivotal importance for society.
On 27th May the Emergency Medicine Day campaign will run on social media with a video providing data and information about EM in Europe. In addition, a number of themed activities will take place across different countries in Europe. In Ireland and in collaboration with the Irish Heart Foundation, IAEM is organizing Community CPR Training on Monday 27th May. The Community CPR Training programme Hands for Life which began in March 2019 is an Irish Heart Foundation initiative, supported by Abbott and ESB Networks, which will see free CPR training offered to 100,000 people in communities across Ireland. Every day in Ireland 13 people die from a cardiac arrest and around 70% of these events happen at home. CPR is a surprisingly easy skill to learn and once known, the newly-trained person has the capacity to save a life. (To find out more and sign up for a local training course, visit www.handsforlife.ie)