Terang and Mortlake Health Service (TMHS) will expand its services provided to the community to take pressure off local doctors through a new partnership with My Emergency Doctor (MED).
The new partnership will begin later this week to provide members of the community with access to emergency specialists via video-based consultations, in a bid to add extra capacity to the health service.
MED was established in 2016 by Sydney-based emergency physician Dr Justin Bowra in a bid to support busy healthcare institutions while ensuring Australians could access specialist emergency doctors, at any time, no matter where they lived.
The telemedicine service quickly rose to prominence as the range of emergency specialist doctors grew, with the service widely cited as helping to alleviate pressure on emergency rooms during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
TMHS director of nursing Melissa Mitchell said the partnership would be a win-win for both the community and medical practitioners.
“For the local community this means better access to timely care for patients in the Urgent Care Centre, for admitted patients and for residents in Mt view when local GPs are unavailable.” she said.
“Better access to specialist services locally also reduces the need to transfer patients to hospitals out of the area, and once the service is fully embedded will facilitate easier return of patients to the Terang Hospital from larger hospital when that is required too.
“The additional capacity also alleviates pressure on the existing hard-working local doctors, supporting management of existing patient loads and achieving a healthier work-life balance.”
Ms Mitchell said the health service had integrated MED services over the past few years, with the success of the service being a guiding factor in the decision to expand the partnership and further streamline capacity.
“We have been using MED telehealth for a couple of years now and it is something that has worked really well for patients presenting to the Urgent Care Centre when we don’t have a doctor on call, she said. “What we haven’t been able to do before is admit patients if we don’t have one of our doctors on call, this new collaboration will let us do that. This means that people can come to the Urgent Care Centre and be admitted to the hospital via the GP MED team instead of having to go to another hospital. It’s so much better for people if we can provide appropriate care for them locally.”
Terang Medical Clinic’s Dr Tim Fitzpatrick welcomed the partnership. “I’m very happy the health service has taken this step to support our local doctors,” he said. “They have faced increased pressure when being on call.”