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Emergency research foundation saves Queensland lives

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Researchers improving emergency responses to crises such as heart attacks and deadly jellyfish stings and with new procedures for pain management have been recognised at a ceremony in Brisbane today.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg praised the state’s emergency medicine professionals and presented $2.21 million in new grants and a research fellowship at an event for the Queensland Emergency Medicine Research Foundation (QEMRF).

“Queensland leads the nation in supporting patients needing emergency medical treatment and responders and clinicians who are on hand at the time of crisis,” Mr Springborg said.

“Since 2008, research grants to individuals and groups have been allocated through the Queensland Emergency Medicine Research Foundation to improve the care of patients in Queensland public hospital emergency departments.

“This has resulted in lives being saved and better health outcomes for patients.”

Mr Springborg cited the achievements of acute cardiac disease researcher, Dr Louise Cullen of the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

Dr Cullen has identified faster and safer methods of assessing patients admitted to hospital with chest pain. Every year, about 500,000 Australians are admitted in these circumstances.

“Because of Dr Cullen’s work, it is possible to confirm whether or not a patient has had a heart attack within two hours of presentation, instead of it taking up to 24 hours,” Mr Springborg said.

“This is one of the foundation’s standout research projects and it is now being put into practice in emergency departments throughout the state.

“It delivers substantial health benefits to Queenslanders and multi-million dollar savings to taxpayers.”

Other QEMRF projects include investigating the use of ketamine in pain management; workplace stress in hospital Emergency Departments; treatment of tropical jellyfish stings; and overdose antidotes.

Mr Springborg said a funding agreement signed in 2012 formalised annual funding for the foundation through to June 2015 and a follow-up agreement was nearing completion.

Of $12 million granted to QEMRF during the past six years, 97 per cent was awarded to research and capacity building programs.

“The QEMRF grants program has shown such positive results that it is being opened up to healthcare workers from all areas of emergency medicine including nurses and paramedics around Queensland,” Mr Springborg said.

QEMRF Chair Dr David Rosengren said the support of the Government would help attract the brightest minds in emergency medicine to live and work in the state.

“Our Foundation is one of a kind in this country and it’s an enormous credit to the Government that it understands and values the achievements of emergency medicine workers,” Dr Rosengren said.

“We are very excited to be able to grow our successful grants and education program.

“Most Australians need emergency hospital treatment at some point in their life so every dollar we invest in this area has the potential to help millions of people.”

Last updated: 12 November 2014