Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health

Q&A with Dr Ruth Holmes

27 June 2022

Ruth is a Senior Emer­gency Depart­ment Spe­cial­ist with­in Cen­tral Ade­laide Local Health Net­work and the Statewide Vir­tu­al Care Ser­vice. She grad­u­at­ed from Impe­r­i­al Col­lege Lon­don in 2000 and com­plet­ed her train­ing in Emer­gency Med­i­cine in 2013.

Ruth is the new­ly appoint­ed Clin­i­cal Lead for the Statewide Urgent Care Clin­i­cal Net­work, at the CEIH.

Tell us about a mem­o­rable high­light in your career so far.

These are many and var­ied. From walk­ing across the stage at The Roy­al Albert Hall as I grad­u­at­ed as a doc­tor, to the feel­ings of sat­is­fac­tion know­ing that you have played a part in pro­vid­ing good com­pas­sion­ate care to patients. From pass­ing Fel­low­ship exams, to being an effec­tive advo­cate in the patient jour­ney. From work­ing in a rur­al clin­ic in Zim­bab­we, to lead­ing a trau­ma team at a large trau­ma cen­tre. I feel very priv­i­leged to have had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fol­low a career in Medicine.

What skills do you bring to the role as the Statewide Urgent Care Clin­i­cal Net­work Lead?

My com­mit­ment to fol­low a career in Emer­gency Med­i­cine, part­ly due to a love of team work, means I bring the skills I use as an Emer­gency Med­i­cine Spe­cial­ist on a dai­ly basis. I lead in a dynam­ic envi­ron­ment and rely on com­mon sense, strate­gic think­ing, prob­lem solv­ing and flex­i­bil­i­ty. The Emer­gency Depart­ment, by its very nature, can be a com­plex envi­ron­ment and play­ing my part in coor­di­nat­ing a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary team with a goal of pro­vid­ing patient cen­tred care is a priv­i­lege. Address­ing com­plex, chal­leng­ing cas­es relies on excel­lent com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, col­lab­o­ra­tion and util­is­ing the team’s skills for the best out­comes for patients. I think these skills, honed in the ED, will be rel­e­vant as I lead the Statewide Urgent Care Clin­i­cal Network.

Where do you see oppor­tu­ni­ties for inno­va­tion and improve­ment in the Urgent Care specialty?

This is an excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to make a dif­fer­ence to patients that span a wide spec­trum of our health care ser­vice, whose needs could poten­tial­ly be bet­ter met in an alter­na­tive envi­ron­ment to the one they find them­selves. The poten­tial for care to go to them, rather than the oth­er way round. The expan­sion of vir­tu­al care that was kick start­ed by the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic is one that excites me and has poten­tial to address some of the issues around the access to urgent care includ­ing those patients in rur­al and remote areas. 

What is your expe­ri­ence and approach in work­ing with stake­hold­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly con­sumers, car­ers and community?

Our human-ness and con­nec­tion to com­mu­ni­ty makes all of us at var­i­ous points con­sumers or car­ers. I think it is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant to engage with those con­sumers, car­ers and com­mu­ni­ty because our per­spec­tive as clin­i­cians around pri­or­i­ties can be at odds to those our ser­vice is cre­at­ed for. My expe­ri­ence on a Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Action Plan­ning com­mit­tee which had par­tic­i­pa­tion of con­sumers and my inter­est around cre­at­ing a cul­tur­al­ly safe envi­ron­ment with­in ED, has high­light­ed the impor­tance of this to me.

Tell us some­thing you’re hap­py to share from your life out­side of work, or some­thing most peo­ple don’t know about you!

I love a beach walk with my minia­ture Dachs­hund and a Dou­ble Doodle!

To read more about the Net­work, see Statewide Urgent Care Clin­i­cal Net­work.