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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