People living in Western Victoria will have better access to specialist medical care without having to travel through a boost to telehealth services by the state government.
The $4.5 million in funding will support five Regional and Rural Health Partnerships, in which local health services in each of the regions partner with each other to support patients receiving medical care closer to home via telehealth.
Locally, this means 11 local health services in the Barwon South Western Regional Area Health Partnership – including Barwon Health and Otway Health – will deliver more telehealth services via telehealth.
Each region will receive a regional telehealth lead and local telehealth support officers who will train clinicians and support patients on how to use telehealth, as well as fund equipment such as webcams, computers, tablets and headsets.
This expansion of telehealth across the state also ensures regional Victorians can continue to keep their appointments and get the medical care they need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has led to the widespread adoption of telehealth by doctors, nurses and allied health providers to deliver acute, chronic, primary and specialty care that does not require face-to-face services.
“Boosting telehealth across Victoria will ensure thousands more Victorians living in regional Victoria get specialist medical care sooner – and closer to home,”
Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney said.
“Telehealth was already widely used in regional and rural Victoria to help people get the care they needed without a long car trip before the pandemic and it’s become a vital tool in our response – protecting doctors and their patients from being exposed to the virus.
“We’re making it easier for locals to see a specialist because delaying that appointment can have devastating health consequences. Please do not delay getting the care you need – it could save your life.”