Wednesday, April 24, 2024

WA prescribes $47.2m for state health op centre

The WA Government has announced it will commit $47.2 million to establish a State Health Operations Centre (SHOC) to better co-ordinate essential emergency and medical care in the state.

Health Minister, Amber-Jade Sanderson (pictured visiting a WA hospital) says the proposal for co-location of essential services within SHOC is a critical strategy in building an integrated State-wide service delivery, while reducing unnecessary emergency department visits.

“The State Health Operations Centre is a game changer for access to emergency care in WA and will co-locate essential emergency and medical services to build an integrated State-wide service delivery,” said Minister Sanderson.

It’s envisaged the state-wide service delivery will enhance coordination of emergency services by locating relevant WA Health, St John WA, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service staff together in a state-of-the-art operations centre, run by the State Government.

The SHOC will allow for system wide coordination of patient movements and integrate WA Health, and St John WA with other state emergency services, said Minister Sanderson.

As part of this decision, the existing proof of concept trial for the WA Virtual Emergency Department (WAVED) will transition into an expanded service located within SHOC.

The trial – which focused on residential aged care facilities – showed the service is safe and effective, with positive feedback from patients, aged care staff, and clinicians.

The Government says the concept for WAVED has come from clinicians on the ground, and was supported by clinicians, the AMA Health, and Hospitals Summit in November last year.

The WAVED model gives patients the option of being seen in the comfort of their own home, by emergency clinicians providing virtual consultations with the next phase to include paramedics and nurses delivering hands-on care.

The further expansion of WAVED will enable GPs to directly refer patients into the virtual ED.

This will enable collaboration between GPs, community, and hospital outreach services, reducing unnecessary ED waits and hospital admissions, said Minister Sanderson.

“Older patients and their families tell us that they often don’t want to send mum or dad to hospital in an ambulance, but they don’t have much alternative if they need to see a doctor,” she said.

“This is that safe option.  It means better patient outcomes because patients can receive care in the comfort of their own home, avoiding unnecessary admissions.”

The 2023-24 State Budget committed $7 million for early work to develop the functions to go into a SHOC, such as the new Patient Transport Coordination Hub, to improve timeliness of patient transfers and free up beds.

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