118 days to go

Climate change is a health emergency too!

12 September 2023

The Emergency Medicine Day campaign for 2024 will be dedicated to the impact of climate change on Emergency Medicine. The compelling testimonies from colleagues and patients have made clear to us that we must take action and ensure that this issue is brought to the attention of everyone.

Climate change is humanity's biggest health threat currently, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “Climate change is impacting people’s health in a myriad of ways, including: Leading to death and illness from increasingly frequent extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, storms and floods, disruption of food systems, an increase in zoonoses and food-, water- and vector-borne diseases, and mental health issues.

climate change graph worldmap

This model provides a forecast of extreme heat days for the next 15 years (developed by Carbon Plan in collaboration with the Washington Post).

In addition, climate change is compromising various crucial aspects that directly impact our well-being, including livelihoods, equal opportunities, accessibility to quality healthcare and social support systems. These climate-sensitive health risks are disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, including women, children, poor communities, migrants or displaced persons, older populations, and those with underlying health conditions.”

Click here to access the WHO factscheet

There is enough data to anticipate that extreme heat is leading to a global increase in mortality rate, and it will continue to exert immense pressure on our healthcare systems, particularly on emergency care services. We are witnessing a progressive increase in heatstroke, heart and kidney damage, new and unexpected infectious diseases like zoonosis, water borne diseases, vector borne diseases, smoke-related pulmonary diseases secondary to wildfires, malnutrition-related disease due to droughts, injuries caused by floods and hurricanes. Not less important are the implications for mental health. 

All these factors will place a growing burden on EM systems worldwide, and present them with new and daunting challenges.
As healthcare professionals, we have a vital responsibility to alleviate suffering and reduce the adverse effects of climate change on people's health. 

Therefore, the EM day campaign for 2024 will focus on these main goals:

  • Advocate the imperative need to actively assess both the magnitude of the issue and the level of EM systems preparedness to face it.
  • Raise awareness globally and promote actions to minimize the impact. For example, urging policymakers to take necessary measures to address the problem and bringing the issue to the attention of the general world population.

We will seek answers to the following questions:

  • How prepared are EMS to deal with the problems arising from climate change?
  • How can we better prepare?
  • How can we increase understanding of these problems among healthcare professionals and the public?


You are all invited to join this campaign and take action!


  • To promote a policy attentive to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in our hospitals and EDs as in our everyday behaviour.
  • To make information and training on the medical challenges and diseases related to climate change
  • To collect and share data on heatstroke and new diseases and any other data related to climate change


  • To promote virtuous behaviours to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • To increase the attention of the public opinion and to become testimonials of the change
  • To use the healthcare facilities and the ED in a responsible manner


A Big Thank You!

27 June 2023

EM day infographic
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in this year’s campaign. As you can see from the infographic, we had a global outreach of over 120 Million people across 6 continents, coming from 159 countries.
A big thank you to the national societies, international organisations and patient organisations for their support for this campaign, as well as to the individual EM doctors, nurses, paramedics and the general public who helped to create great awareness of patient safety in the ED. There were many activities taking place on May 27, from symposia to festivals to fun runs!
The results of an international survey, published in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine to coincide with EM Day, found that professionals felt that neither themselves nor their patients were safe enough in Emergency Departments. The staff felt under-supported by their hospital managements and did not have the right tools to provide adequate care. They also felt they were under too much pressure to meet external targets at a time when the whole EM system is under strain. We once again highlighted the issue of an overworked workforce trying to manage patients in failing healthcare systems that do not tackle the problem of patient safety but instead add unnecessary risk.
We will be publishing a paper analysing the results by country in the near future. We hope that societies will use this information to continue the campaign at national level.
There needs to be a recognition that Emergency Medicine is not simply the gateway to other departments. It is well known that patients who are treated quickly have a better outcome. Overcrowding needs to be addressed by better coordination and communication between different departments. Patients deserve a healthy workforce that is neither overtired, nor mentally drained.
We advocate for healthcare systems, governments, the general public and policymakers to support our emergency medical services and make the changes necessary to create an environment where patients and EM healthcare professionals feel safe.
We look forward to next year’s campaign where we hope to have an even larger engagement and a bigger impact! Thank you once again, and see you next year!
Dr Roberta Petrino                                                                                                              Dr Luis Castrillo                                                                                                                                                                               
EM Day Working Group Chair                                                                                     EM Day Working Group Co-Chair

EM-Day video 2023

27 May 2023

Press Release: Are Emergency Departments unsafe? Patients and professionals think so

25 May 2023

Emergency departments (EDs) are currently unsafe places for both professionals and patients, according to the results of an international survey carried out for the European Society of Emergency Medicine (EUSEM) and published today (26th  May) in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine1. The main reasons for this are staff shortages and overcrowding due to the non-availability of beds in wards necessitating the provision of care in corridors. Respondents to the survey also felt that they had insufficient support from hospital management. Read more 

Around 90% of professionals surveyed felt that at times the number of patients in ED exceeded the capacity of the department to provide safe care, and that such overcrowding was a regular problem. In addition to causing patient and professional discomfort and impeding their ability to provide care, overcrowding is known to carry a substantial risk of harm and increased mortality.

The preliminary findings of a survey among patients, yet to be published, were even more alarming. More patients thought that ED staff were ‘angry’ or ‘rude’ than were kind. This is likely to be caused by exhaustion and frustration, says an accompanying editorial2 from EUSEM President Dr James Connolly ‘given that the vast majority of those responding to the survey of professionals said that they were proud to work in an ED.’ Amongst responses received a typical response was “There were a lot of patients and very few doctors. Some nurses were very stressed.”

Indeed, nurses who responded to the survey felt less safe than did doctors, particularly with regards to the environment in which they had to treat patients with mental health problems. Since in general they work with patients for longer periods of time, this is understandable, but nonetheless troubling, say the researchers.

“Last year’s EUSEM survey into burnout among ED professionals was worrying enough,” says Dr Connolly, “showing as it did that younger and less experienced EM professionals were more likely to be affected than older, more experienced staff. It is very disquieting to see this pattern repeated, and completely unacceptable that so little action has been taken to remedy it. If anything, the situation appears to be worse than before.” This is especially important, as In many EDs the majority of professionals are still junior and therefore at greater risk of burnout, and so in greater need of supervision to protect both themselves and their patients.

Although targets have been advantageous in bringing about  improvements in the past, the current feedback from ED staff shows that, when systems are under significant strain, they feel pressurised by the imposition of such external targets, and that they believe this could cause patient care to suffer. Some 54.2% said they were permanently under external pressure. Support from hospital management was also perceived to be inadequate; 35% of professional responders responding that hospital managers never supported the introduction of improvements, and 47% thinking that procedures for improving flow in the ED were never effective.

Alarmingly, some patients surveyed felt so concerned about their safety in the ED that they said they would prefer not to go there at all, believing that overcrowding, long waiting times, and exhausted staff would lead to medical errors.

“Dedicated professionals need the right environment and support in which to carry out their work, and patients need to feel reassured that they will get the best treatment. Currently we are far from that being the case. Governments and healthcare authorities must remedy this now, before the situation worsens further when it may become too late to arrest the spiral of decline,” says Dr Connolly.

1. https://journals.lww.com/euro-emergencymed/Abstract/9900/Patient_safety_in_emergency_departments__a_problem.63.aspx 
DOI 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000001044

2. https://journals.lww.com/euro-emergencymed/Citation/9900/With_safety_in_mind.64.aspx
DOI 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000001048

Further information:

Davi Kaur

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mobile: +32 485515497

Publications in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine

26 May 2023

For EM-Day 2023 we conducted 3 surveys about safety, for patients/general public, for professionals and for patient organisations. 

The results are shared in a paper, written by Roberta Petrino, Eeva Tuunainen, Giulia Bruzzone, and Luis Garcia-Castrillo, published in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine, also an editorial was published, written by EUSEM president, Jim Connollly. Please find a link to each publication:

Paper: Patient safety in emergency departments: a problem for health care systems? An international survey

Editorial: With safety in mind

Ambulance response times worst on record as A&E waits hit new highs

25 February 2023

Ambulance response times in England were the worst on record across all major categories in December, while people waiting 12 hours or more to be admitted to A&E reached an all-time high.

The average response time for people requiring an ambulance for a stroke, severe burns or chest pain was 93 minutes, five times the operation target of 18 minutes.

Read more