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Waikato doctor to lead peak body for emergency medicine

A Waikato emergency doctor has been elected to lead the peak body for emergency medicine in New Zealand and Australia.

Dr John Bonning, who has been a specialist emergency medicine physician for 15 years and was Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Waikato Hospital from 2010 to 2017, will become the first New Zealand President in the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine’s (ACEM) 35 year history.

"I will represent issues on both sides of the Tasman having been elected to this role by both New Zealand and Australian colleagues," Dr Bonning says.

At the College’s AGM, to be held on 18 November 2018 in Perth, Dr Bonning will formally take the position of President-Elect. He will serve in that role for one year before becoming President in late 2019.

Dr Bonning has worked in various roles at the College for 10 years. Chair of the New Zealand Faculty, he has been an ACEM Board Member since July 2014.

He is also the current Chair of the New Zealand Council of Medical Colleges.

“Emergency doctors and nurses are on the frontline to the health system, playing a unique role in the provision of safe, high quality acute medical care to everyone in the community, and have an insight into issues such as access block (patients stuck in emergency departments because of a lack of hospital beds), ambulance ramping (ambulances being unable to unload their patients due to full hospitals and emergency departments) and emergency medical workforce issues,” Dr Bonning says.

“Doctors and nurses are also there as shortcomings in the mental health system play out, that’s why we have participated in the independent Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction and look forward to its report back to Government.

"We’re committed to working in partnership with the Government to ensure emergency physicians’ expertise influences and shapes the planning, development and implementation of any long-term system wide reforms in acute care.”

Dr Bonning, who has just returned from a four month tour of hospitals’ emergency systems across the US, Canada and Europe, says he also wants to continue the College’s work around gender and cultural equity within emergency medicine, and staff fatigue and burnout.

"Supporting all who work in emergency departments, especially our Fellows and trainees, advocating for them with District Health Boards, politicians and the public, is a priority for me,” he says.

Passionate about the rational use of public health resources and promoting a strong public health system, Dr Bonning says he also wants to “connect with emergency physicians on the front line in emergency departments and see what I can do to support them doing a great job”.

"I am also very keen to support the broadest range of emergency departments, from the large located in metropolitan and major regional centres to the smaller emergency departments situated in rural areas,” he said.

ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in New Zealand and Australia, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards.


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