Gladstone Hospital’s specialist team grows
19 April 2018
Gladstone Hospital Emergency Department now has almost a full complement of specialist emergency physicians thanks to a flexible employment model.
ED Director Dr Dilip Kumar said while the hospital is planning its new $42m Emergency Department, he’s been hard at work building a team of six fully qualified emergency specialists. Another is due to start next month.
“When I started as Clinical Director in April last year I was the only specialist in the department and my first mission was to provide specialist led care to the community 24-7,” Dr Kumar said.
“We initiated a recruitment campaign to target specialists and we needed to make the jobs attractive to people not wanting to move away from their homes in Brisbane. We have overcome that challenge by using a fly-in, fly-out model where specialists come and do their shifts before returning to their homes in the city.”
Dr Kumar said the hospital would soon have a fully staffed ED when recent recruits join, with qualified specialists who provide sustainable and consistent care, and that ultimately means better quality care to the community.
“Staff feel more safe and comfortable coming to work because they know they’re going to deliver good quality care to the patients,” he said.
It’s a good thing the extra hands are on deck because March was the busiest month on record in Gladstone ED, with 2669 presentations, 340 more than the same month in 2017.
Dr Kumar puts the busy month down to a number of factors, including weather, changing demographics of the community and a drop in the number of bulk-billing GPs in town.
Dr Kumar’s next goal is to gain accreditation from the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine to train the emergency specialists of the future.
“Because we’ve been able to get so many specialists we’re now able to provide good education for junior doctors which is important for recruitment and retention of staff and all this leads to better care. We will also soon have a full staff of principal house officers (junior doctors) once the process for their arrival is finalised.”
There are now six full-time junior doctors in the ED, with another four due in the next month or two.
“I aim to have the ED fully recruited by the middle of this year, which will be something to be really proud of,” Dr Kumar said.