Victoria Expands Virtual Emergency Department Amid Spike In Demand

"We're in for a challenging time”

Article heading image for Victoria Expands Virtual Emergency Department Amid Spike In Demand

As Covid and influenza run rampant across the state, Melbourne's "virtual emergency department" is being expanded.

In a move set to help off-load some of the pressure on Victoria's struggling health system, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the expansion of the virtual ED service, along with the recruitment or redeployed of staff to 12 hospitals.

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The virtual department running out of Northern Hospital in Epping will now be able to manage double the number of patients a day, offering a video consultation from home with an emergency doctor or nurse.

Clinical director of the virtual ED, Dr Loren Sherr, said the service's video consultations helped to triage and treat non-life-threatening emergencies remotely.

"It's pretty easy to see off the bat whether they need escalated care or whether we can treat them at home," she said.

"If we think they need urgent care, we will call an ambulance on their behalf."

- Dr Sherr


Unveiled by the Victorian government on Monday as part of a previously announced $162 million health package, Premier Andrews told reporters the program was going from success-to-success.

"We will continue this virtual ED and, in fact, we'll grow it. Covid or no Covid - it's working that well," Andrews told reporters.

The expansion comes as Victoria's emergency departments struggle to cope with the onslaught of people presenting to hospital and the ongoing ambulance ramping crisis.

Andrews said there were several concerns as the state moves into stage three of its health system winter response.

"Winter every year is never easy," he said.

"But the challenge this is year is that you've got a nasty strain of the flu, as well as Covid, as well as people who are just tired."

"We're in for a challenging time over the next few weeks and indeed beyond that," he said.

Victoria reported 10,251 new infections and 18 deaths on Monday, while 821 people are being cared for in hospital with the virus.


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Hit News Team

18 July 2022

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