Partnership brings virtual support to Broken Hill
The initiative between Sydney and Far West local health districts is improving health outcomes.
Doctors giving emergency care to patients in outback New South Wales are getting a helping hand from colleagues in the heart of Sydney under a new partnership between Sydney and Far West local health districts.
The emergency department at Broken Hill Hospital now has support from emergency physicians at RPA Virtual Hospital as part of an initiative to share resources and expertise to deliver better patient health outcomes and upskill staff.
"They can call us for whatever reason, so it might be a minor case, a moderate case or even a resuscitation," said Dr Melanie Berry, Staff Specialist at RPA Virtual Hospital.
Doctors at Broken Hill can dial in to their colleagues via video or phone to seek support from senior medical staff.
Dr Berry says the sharing of expertise goes both ways.
"It's a real understanding of the complexity of working in the country, in that you don't have everything at your fingertips, and so you've got to think really laterally and be quite creative, and I think we can learn a lot from our rural colleagues," she said.
The NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said the partnership will deliver better health outcomes and care for Broken Hill patients.
"It will also mean they can have access to healthcare closer to home and it will also support our fantastic, hardworking clinicians, nursing staff and allied health professionals," he added.
Broken Hill Hospital patients needing further treatment can be referred to either New South Wales or South Australian facilities.
Access to virtual support has led to patients accessing care without travelling.
"Often it's the difference between a patient having to be flown to Adelaide or being able to be kept here in Broken Hill and managed safely and well," said Brad Astill, Chief Executive of Far West Local Health District.
"The more we can do to keep people in Broken Hill, provide the care they need, the better it is for the family and the patient."
Dr Cameron Spenceley, Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Broken Hill Hospital, said the partnership was an innovative approach to improving emergency care and an example of how New South Wales public health services can work together to help local communities.
"I think it really does represent aspiring to the values that we should embrace across NSW Health," he said.