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As part of the International Federation for Emergency Medicine's (IFEM) role in promoting emergency medicine (EM), internationally, a decision was made to begin the work of developing a framework for assuring and measuring the quality of care delivered by emergency departments. It is hoped that the framework would also act as a catalyst for driving improvements in Emergency Department (ED) care. Although the concept of striving to deliver the highest possible quality of care is a “no-brainer,” what we mean by this and how we develop and measure quality and patient safety is more complicated than first seems. There are issues regarding the resources, geography, desired outcomes and processes that should be recognised and (where possible) measured. Each country has different approaches to systems of emergency care, data collection and definitions and funding. These differences all make the aims of any framework for improving quality of care—in all these settings—fraught with danger! Fortunately a decision was made by the IFEM executive to collaborate with the UK College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) to organise a symposium in London, England to explore how to go forward.
The UK College put on a fantastic show, hosting about 150 EM Safety and Quality enthusiasts (and experts) from around the world in the British Museum. Delegates were predominantly from the “founding societies” of IFEM, as many of the more recent members have not yet developed a comprehensive quality framework for EM in their countries. The venue exceeded expectations with its grand architecture and treasured exhibits—there was even a little “spare” time to whip off and visit some of the magnificent displays. In addition (a real coup for the organisers) we had a brief visit from HRH Princess Anne—the Royal Patron of the UK College of the CEM. The organising committee, in conjunction with the speakers, …
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