CREM Director wins 2016 Regional Achiever Award

South West Regional Achiever - Tim BakerCREM is delighted to announce that our director, Dr Timothy Baker, has been awarded the  South West Regional Achiever Award, 2016.  This award is a great honour and reflects the contribution, not only of Dr Baker personally but of many other people and organisations who contribute to rural emergency medicine in our region.  The staff of CREM research issues of importance and help spread new ideas to clinicians in small towns. Warrnambool and Portland emergency departments, and the surrounding Urgent Care Centres continue to incorporate new models of care to provide the best outcomes for their patients.

CREM appreciates the ongoing funding and commitment of Alcoa Australia, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, and Deakin University to the South West Region.  CREM would like to thank the sponsors of this award, South West TAFE and Deakin University, for recognising and honouring those who work for their communities in the South West Region of Victoria.  Dr Baker would like to congratulate the other finalists and nominees in this category, who have all contributed greatly to the local communities, making our region such a wonderful place to live.  Thanks to Prime 7, The Weekly Times and the Bank Of Melbourne, the major sponsors of these awards.

How many emergency departments?

How many ‘EDs’ does Australia have: 122, 126, 162, 181 or 203? How many rural hospitals have an emergency area that fails to make the grade: 483 or 406? We do not know because national organisations cannot agree when a rural hospital’s emergency service meets the criteria to be called an ‘ED’.

This brief article outlines the various counts and classifications of emergency departments and other hospital-based emergency care facilities in Australia.

Baker T, Dawson S. How many emergency departments? Emergency Medicine Australasia 2014, Apr;26(2):212-3.


Innovative link to medical specialists

May 2010

An innovative online program is bringing specialist medical support directly into the emergency department of Portland District Health.

The new monitor system connects patients in Portland to a network of skilled specialists around Victoria.

The new Datascope Panorama Central Monitor and Web Viewer allow doctors in Portland to consult specialists who will be able see and monitor their patients via on-screen images.

Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine Director and Portland Emergency Department Director, Dr Tim Baker, said the system would ensure patients get the very best care available.

Alcoa Australia has funded the new hardware and software through its Partnering Stronger Communities program.

Dr Baker said the equipment would collect a patient’s pulse, blood pressure, heart rhythm and breathing patterns and monitor trends such as falling blood pressure or increasing pulse rate. The web viewer makes the information available on a secure internet site.

Dr Baker said Portland hospital staff already consulted specialists from larger centres on a regular basis and transferred information such as X-rays and photographs.

“The Panorama weblink is the most important aspect of this telemedicine capability in that it provides direct access to the vital signs that are so important in assessing a critically ill patient,” he said.

Dr Baker said that doctors in rural hospitals such as Portland were often isolated from specialist support.

“Rural hospitals simple cannot employ every type of medical specialist and it is not uncommon to seek specialist support a few times per week. With the new monitor an emergency physician can now call for advice to and the specialist can see the patient and monitor their vital signs. As they say, a picture tells a thousand stories.”

“The specialist can log in and view streaming patient data remotely from virtually anywhere.”

It is expected the system will be used by the emergency physician on call for the Portland and Warrnambool hospitals, the Cardiology Unit at Geelong Hospital, the Alfred Hospital and the Adult Retrieval Service in Melbourne.

Dr Baker said it would be used for the safe care of patients with a variety of critical conditions or injuries and would be used to monitor patients waiting for transfer by air services to other hospitals.

Dr Baker said Alcoa’s support for the project was fantastic. “This equipment will save lives,” he said.

The Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine, which is based at Deakin University in Warrnambool, is also funded by Alcoa Australia in conjunction with the Department of Health.

Deakin Medical School appoints director for Western Victoria’s Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine

April 2009

Deakin University has appointed a specialist emergency physician, Clinical Associate Professor Tim Baker, as the Director for the new Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine (CREM).

A joint initiative between the State Government, Alcoa of Australia and the Deakin Medical School, CREM will contribute to the coordination and delivery of effective emergency medical management in western Victoria and provide national leadership in emergency medicine research. It will operate through the Deakin Medical School’s new Greater Green Triangle Clinical School based at Warrnambool’s South West Healthcare (SWH) and Portland District Health (PDH), and through a network of regional doctors. The Centre has received financial support from Alcoa, the Victorian Government and both health services.

Associate Professor Baker said he was looking forward to working with healthcare providers in Warrnambool and western Victoria to respond to the emergency medical needs of rural and regional communities.

“This is a crucial time to be involved in rural emergency medicine,” Associate Professor Baker said.

“There is a difference between the emergency treatment outcomes for country patients and those in the city.”

“What we need to ensure is that country people have timely access to all the proven services available in the city, and have the same chance of a good outcome, no matter where they are in Victoria.”

“Through CREM we will explore the challenges in getting good outcomes for emergencies in rural and regional hospitals and work towards a robust and successful system here that we can export to the rest of rural Victoria and Australia.”

Professor Brendan Crotty, the Head of the Deakin Medical School, said he was delighted with Associate Professor Baker’s appointment.

“The establishment of CREM is a result of the medical school working with Alcoa, the State Government and the two regional health services, South West Healthcare (Warrnambool) and Portland District Health. For the south west, CREM is the first tangible benefit from the new Deakin Medical School and I think we can all look forward to significant improvements in emergency care in the region,” he said.

Victorian Health Minister Daniel Andrews said the Brumby Government was pleased that the Centre was able to select someone of Associate Professor Baker’s stature and experience to south west Victoria.

“Under Associate Professor Baker the Centre will play a key role in the provision of emergency medical services and undertake research and training in emergency medicine in rural settings.

“It is important that our front line emergency staff in rural areas have access to contemporary education to ensure the best level of care,” Mr Andrews said.

As well as heading up CREM, Associate Professor Baker will work in the emergency departments of SWH Warrnambool and PDH and will contribute to the Deakin Medical School teaching program. He hopes his broad experience will help the junior medical staff and the Deakin medical students who will train in western Victoria from next year.

“I have worked in emergency medicine for 15 years. My work has taken me to hospitals in remote Central Australia, in Gippsland where I grew up and to every continent, including hospitals in Kenya and Peru,” Associate Professor Baker said.

SWH Chief Executive Officer John Krygger said the establishment of CREM and the appointment of Associate Professor Tim Baker was a significant coup for the region.

“We are delighted that we have been able to recruit an emergency physician with the experience and expertise of Tim Baker who has both clinical and research strengths. The appointment is also a strong tangible benefit of our relationship with Deakin University and highlights our commitment to providing best practice emergency care,” he said.

Alcoa of Australia’s General Manager Victorian Operations Arnaud Soirat said Alcoa’s partnership with Deakin is a central plank in its efforts to create sustainable communities.

“Strengthening our communities is a part of core business at Alcoa and has never been more important as we face such challenging times.

“Strong rural health services are an essential part of a sustainable community and this partnership with Deakin is very important to help achieve this. We welcome Dr Baker and all he can bring to the role.”