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Concord Hospital Teleburns service keeps patients close to home

The NSW Teleburns Service at Concord Hospital ensures optimal outcomes for rural and regional patients.

A nurse stands at a desk looking at a computer screen treating a patient in hospital in a remote location.
SydneyConnect image: The NSW Teleburns service at Concord Hospital

When Griffith man Thomas Shields accidentally stepped on hot coals from a campfire, he made his way to the local hospital. 

Often a burn injury would require a transfer to Sydney to continue his treatment but the Teleburns service operated out of Concord Hospital’s Burns Unit meant Thomas could stay close to home. 

Teleburns staff at Griffith Hospital assessed Thomas’ injuries during a teleconference with their Concord colleagues and determined that he could receive appropriate treatment at Griffith. 

“Being able to just do a five-minute drive down here, it saves so much time,” he said. 

Fiona Shields, Thomas’ mother, described the Teleburns service as a godsend. 

“It's just so much better to be able to be at home,” Fiona said. 

“We're six hours away, 600 kilometres away [from Sydney] ... So it's not like you can drive down in the morning and come back in the afternoon, because that's 12 hours.” 

The Teleburns service has operated since 2021 with the aim of providing optimal burns care as close to home as possible for regional patients. This enhanced model of care provides support via MS Teams and a high-definition pan tilt zoom camera to provide virtual multidisciplinary care at six sites in NSW. 

Local state MP Jason Yat-Sen Li toured Concord’s Burns Unit recently to see the Teleburns service in action. 

“It’s amazing to see how online technology can help achieve better health outcomes for burns patients,” said Mr Li, the Member for Strathfield. 

“And it’s inspiring to see the team here at Concord working with teams across NSW to ensure those outcomes while keeping patients as close to their homes as possible.” 

NSW Teleburns Concord is led by Nurse Practitioner Miranda Pye, who said the service sought to treat patients in the best place at the right time. She said a patient’s postcode should not determine their burn injury outcome.  

“Last year the NSW Teleburns service at Concord provided support to 125 patients,” Miranda said. 

“Of all of these, only 10 had to travel to Sydney. This is remarkable because we are able to support burns patients and clinicians in rural communities and ensure they have optimal burns outcomes.” 

Miranda said staff such as nurse Alba Papasidero at Griffith helped to keep patients at home while still ensuring patients received the best possible care. 

Sometimes, however, Teleburns consultancies identify when it’s necessary for patients to travel to Sydney for further treatment. 

George Greenaway was initially treated at Coonamble Hospital after he suffered similar burns to Thomas’. After the initial assessment of his injuries, however, it was decided George should travel to Sydney for more complex care at Concord’s Burns Unit. 

“[My burn] was bad,” George said. 

“It was just all blistered up when they took my boots and socks off. It looked a mess.” 

But George had nothing but praise for the Teleburns service and for the Concord Hospital Burns Unit. 

“This hospital is just great, just great,” he said. “Just like your own people, you know, they look after you."