Facing challenges in emergency medicine

13 May 2016

Professor Tim Rainer

Some of the world’s leading experts in global emergency medicine will gather in Cardiff next week to discuss the challenges facing emergency departments and acute medical units.

The first Welsh International Symposium on Emergency Medicine, hosted by Cardiff University, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and the International Federation for Emergency Medicine (IFEM) takes place at City Hall, Cardiff, on May 16 and 17.

The programme, involving speakers and delegates from around the world, will include more than 30 sessions, featuring presentations, discussions, and workshops, as well as trade and academic displays.

“We are bringing together many of the leading authorities in the field,” said symposium organiser Professor Tim Rainer, Professor in Emergency Medicine at Cardiff University.

“The aging population, economic crisis and inefficiencies in healthcare are placing a huge burden on emergency and acute general medicine.  In the United Kingdom, acute medicine and emergency medicine are two different but very closely related and overlapping specialties.   Many of the sessions and lectures address the major challenges in these two areas.”

The symposium’s theme is ‘The World Comes to Wales: Facing the Grand Challenges of this Age in Emergency Medicine and Acute General Medicine’, and the emphases will be on 'Experience – Exposure – Opportunity’ in emergency medicine and acute general medicine.

The first day will cover the interface and challenges facing emergency departments and acute medical receiving units, and the second day will focus on innovation and trauma.

Among the speakers are Professor James Ducharme, a Canadian emergency physician and president elect of the International Federation for Emergency Medicine.  He has a wealth of experience in public and private healthcare, and has helped resolve many of the crises facing emergency medicine in the Canadian setting.

Dr Cliff Mann is current president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and Dr Taj Hassan is president elect.  The symposium also features a breadth of other international leaders from North America, Australia, Africa and Hong Kong, as well as experts from Scotland, England and throughout Wales.  All of the experts work on the frontline of emergency and acute medicine.

“Elsewhere in the world, emergency medicine is one of the most attractive specialities for medical students and new doctors,” said Professor Rainer. “But in the UK, pressures on the system have driven away many bright and enthusiastic potential emergency doctors.  This conference seeks to showcase the current talent in Wales, and to demonstrate to the world what Wales has to offer.  Current priorities for the government are the NHS, education and the economy.  Our vision is not just to face challenges in emergency healthcare but also education and to help build the economy.”

Apart from clinicians, researchers and educators, the symposium brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers and potential industrial partners to produce solutions for today’s challenges and to show young people the opportunities on offer.

Over 200 delegates are expected, including clinicians, nurses, paramedics and medical students.

The symposium is supported by the IFEM, which is a global organisation seeking to develop emergency medicine around the world.  It is currently working with the World Health Organisation aiming to provide ‘emergency care for all’.  The symposium is co-hosted by the Welsh Branch of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), the All Wales School of Emergency Medicine (AWSEM) and the Prehospital Emergency Medicine Students (PEMS) group.

The symposium is further supported with generous donations from Cardiff University, the American College of Emergency Medicine, and a host of platinum, gold and silver sponsors.

Platinum sponsors include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Galen, Shire, and Dot Medical Ltd.

Information on the symposium is available at: www.wisem2016.org