A new 24/7 video connection between Warrnambool Base Hospital’s emergency department and the Royal Children’s Hospital will hopefully reduce the numbers of local children transferred to Melbourne.
The new equipment connects the emergency department with the Royal Children’s Hospital’s paediatric retrieval team.
Director of South West Healthcare’s Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine, associate professor Tim Baker, said he hoped the initiative would mean more patients could be treated locally.
Dr Baker said he was confident the initiative would work because it was private, stable and they were building on a system already in place.
He said at times if a doctor was not entirely sure about a patient they couldn’t take the risk and not have them transported to Melbourne.
“This really does add to what we’ve already got,” he said.
At yesterday’s launch, the emergency department was linked up to the director of the paediatric emergency transport service Felix Oberender in Melbourne.
Dr Oberender said the link would help improve their decision making and provide more advice to the local health professionals.
“It may help some children avoid a trip to Melbourne,” he said. “It also allows us to provide advice with more confidence.
“It’s a very exciting day for us.”
Regional Cities and Major Projects Minister Denis Napthine launched the equipment and said it would provide an enormous comfort to individuals and their families.
“The south-west has a growing population with many, many families and is a big tourist area,” he said.
“But it’s still 300 kilometres away from Melbourne.
“Not only will locals see the experienced local specialists but this provides a direct link to the best specialists in the world.”
The initiative was made possible by a $12,000 grant from Aussie Farmers Foundation.