Early Access Public Education Campaign
Studies have shown that the public are unable to differentiate between emergent and non-emergent presentations, and therefore campaigns telling the public to keep EDs for emergencies fail. A significant proportion of the lower acuity presentations to QAS and EDs are not new onset but days or weeks in the making, during which time the patients make no effort to seek medical intervention. This includes a surprisingly high number of patients with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular or respiratory disease, who ignore symptoms for days or weeks, then present to QAS or EDs when the symptoms progress, often overnight when they can't tolerate the inability to sleep (when emergency medical services are at their lowest capacity). A public education campaign needs to focus on going to a GP as soon as symptoms present, not waiting days or weeks. This needs to be followed up with GPs taking the time to thoroughly explain the patient's condition, the management required, and when it requires escalation to QAS or an ED. This also needs to be provided as a hard copy so the patient can refer back to it, and so the information is available to paramedics at the time of presentation.
Why the contribution is important
Encouraging early access to GPs should decrease the number of presentations overall by reducing the disease burden. Preventing the escalation of respiratory tract infections in patients with lung disease with early antibiotic therapy for example, should avoid the patients progressing to the point where they feel the need to call 000 or present to an ED.
by TrentWheeler on August 21, 2019 at 04:59PM