February 24, 2024

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Western Australia's Emergency Telehealth Service now available 24/7 from 78 rural and remote locations

Western Australia's Emergency Telehealth Service now available 24/7 from 78 rural and remote locations

Western Australia's virtual emergency department has been expanded
to a 24/7 service. The WA
Country Health Service
's Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS) is
now
available
around-the-clock from its 78 rural and remote locations.

The ETS was launched in 2012 to support doctors and nurses
to provide emergency care in nursing posts and small hospitals in rural and
remote locations. It is available across the State and has supported more
than 58,000 emergency cases since it began, and now deals with about 300 cases
a week. 

The service acts like a virtual emergency department, with
specialist emergency medicine doctors available by video call to support local
doctors and nurses in providing high-quality emergency care. 

People living in or travelling to these small communities
across the State will be able to access care locally and, in the event of an
emergency, have access to support from expert clinicians in Perth when
required. 

The ETS is particularly valuable where there is no on-call
doctor available to smaller regional hospital sites and nurses need to access a
doctor.  The ETS provides a greater level of medical support to regional
areas and helps to lift the level of knowledge and expertise of all regional
clinical staff by supporting their professional development and reducing their
professional isolation. 

Health Minister,
Roger Cook, said,"This is about putting patients first. In
about 75 per cent of cases, patients can be treated at the ETS site, which
means they don't have to be transferred to a more distant hospital with a
traditional emergency department. When you consider that every minute counts in
an emergency, expanding the service to 24/7 will make a big difference to
outcomes for emergency patients in these remote locations.” 

"The award-winning service has revolutionised the way
emergency care is delivered in small country hospitals and nursing posts, and
is gaining national and international recognition as a leader in the provision
of emergency medicine via telehealth,” he added.

(Earlier this month, OpenGov
recognised
the WA Country Health Service under its Recognition of Excellence (RoE) series for
trebling the number of people in country WA using telehealth for medical
care over the past four years.)
 

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