A lot to take in

By June 16, 2017 No Comments

Welcome to Saturday at The National Member Conference in Hobart! If you haven’t been able to stay tuned in for the seminars, you can check them out Right Now!!! On SJ One. Just head to https://www.facebook.com/SJONElive/

Professor Mark Compton, Chancellor, opened the day’s proceedings at breakfast with a speech about who we are as members of St John Ambulance Australia and how it’s ‘in our blood’ (which is also the Conference theme for 2017).

The first seminar we attended was a presentation by Dr David Fahey, Assistant Commissioner NSW (yay represent!), who spoke about the various clinical presentations and management strategies for party drug use/overdose.  The presentation covered the major classes of drugs used recreationally at events where St John provides coverage and how cases present when suffering an overdose.

At this stage, the conference split into two streams with topics covered by a variety of presenters from all across Australia. The first sessions had a speaker on Extended Patient Care by Kristy Austin (Vic) and Next Generation Fleet Vehicles by Grant Ledger (St John WA). Both of these talks were topical and engaging, which provided a lot of insight to me and other delegates into how different aspects of St John operate across Australia. The second sessions covered  Health Care Challenges at Multi Day Events by Kalie Ashenden (St John WA) and a seminar by Rob McManus (VIC) on the E-Patient Records, developed and in use by St John Ambulance Victoria.

The next combined major session was an informative and moving presentation by Dr Nitin Verma (Hospitaller) about the history and initiatives of the Ophthalmic branch of St John Ambulance and the support it receives from every area of the Order, both in Australia and globally. The talk was in depth and discussed the long history of ophthalmic care in countries such as Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, India as well as remote Australia, and the impressive involvement of St John Ambulance Australia in fundraising and supporting these programs.

After a refreshing break, we came back for a wild seminar on Armed Offender Events where we listened to a presentation from Sgt Marco Ghedini, a Tasmanian Police Officer. Staying along those lines of thought, we then heard from Jack Boessler (St John Vic) about clinical presentations to anticipate in a Terror Setting. Jack talked in depth about mechanism, cause and treatment of Terror related injuries.

At this stage, we reached a celebratory note by presenting the two 2017 Norma Bell National Youth Leader awardees. These two incredible young people have worked tirelessly in their divisions and respective states and deserve the recognition and praise they receive here and elsewhere. From Tasmania, we hadMelanie Fulton who’s achievements include  working closely with a Cadet who had a learning difficulty, including spending extra hours in attending a first aid course (so that the Cadet had someone she knew with her) and giving extra training to the Cadet over weekends to enable the Cadet to compete in state first aid competitions (something the Cadet’s mother thought would never be possible). Damian Kaushik of NSW is the second awardee who has worked tirelessly as a youth member and Area Manager to turn around cadet division under his care with great success. His achievements include turning one divisions debt of $7,500 into $7,500 profit, transferring the division from a paper based to an online records system and growing the division in size (amongst many other things!). Damian is also undertaking the Sovereign’s Award, which is the highest award available to young people in St John (its awarded by the Queen!).

Beyond this event we then heard from the Chancellor, Professor Mark Compton on the future and direction of St John Ambulance Australia as an organisation. The Chancellor identified 5 key strategic directions that we will pursue over the coming years. These goals are:

  1. Currently St John Ambulance Australia occupies 9% of the First Aid training market, by 2025 we aim to occupy 33%, and we aim to achieve this by teaching over 2 million children basic first aid, establishing a mandatory learner driver first aid course and to improve and relieve the burden of work on Burns Units Nationally.
  2. By 2025 we aim to have 90% of all out of hospital cardiac arrests have CPR already performed before Ambulance Services arrive, and 50% of cardiac arrest cases having had a defibrillator applied before Ambulance Services arrive.
  3. To ensure appropriate, effective and competitive Event Health Services to the community and with appropriate staffing of Healthcare professionals, to aid in building more resilient communities.
  4. To assist in the provision of efficient, equitable and caring Patient Transport Services and to ensure quality of volunteers/employees involved.
  5. Increase volunteer engagement, including improving how we attract, recruit and maintain the volunteer workforce.

With all that to take in, I’ll leave this post here and join you again soon with a recount of some of the many shenanigans of the Gala Dinner and the visit of our honourable and valued Lord Prior, Sir Malcolm Ross.

– Matthew Orton