24/7 HELP JUST A CALL AWAY
EMERGENCY back-up is now just a video call away, since Harvey District Hospital’s telehealth service started operating around the clock.
The WA Country Health Service’s Emergency Telehealth Service became a 24-hour entity from its 78 rural and remote locations, just in time for Christmas.
Harvey District Hospital clinical nurse manager Larene Hayward said the hospital had used the ETS service for years, but frequency has increased since they could connect from the emergency department 24/7.
“The service operates from the hospital’s resuscitation bay and we communicate with ETS doctors via a large monitor, phone support, cameras and microphone,” Ms Hayward said.
“The two doctors rostered on in the hospital’s emergency department use the service for support when needed to treat the most critical emergency patients.”
The ETS was launched to help medical staff, providing emergency care in nursing posts and in rural and remote hospitals.
The Statewide service has supported more than 58,000 emergency cases since it began in 2012 and now deals with about 300 cases a week.
“In Harvey, we also use the ETS in conjunction with the care provided by our two highly respected local admitting doctors, Dr Yap and Dr Venter, who provide a lot of support to the hospital and often attend to assist with emergencies.
“It was a comfort to know that the ETS support was available over the Christmas and New Year period.”
In a statement last month, Health Minister Roger Cook said that in 75 per cent of all cases, patients could be treated at the ETS site rather than needing to be transferred to another hospital.
“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,” he said.