Telehealth services to increase at new Warren Health Service
Manjimup residents will have to travel less to see their medical specialists once the new Warren District Hospital opens, according to the local Telehealth Coordinators.
South West Telehealth Coordinators Jenny Elms and Renae Seward said they expected more local people to be able to use telehealth to speak to their specialists after the new hospital opened, because there would be more telehealth equipment.
Ms Elms said that recent growth in local use of telehealth services would likely continue as the new hospital would have three extra telehealth facilities.
The current hospital has the Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS) and one dedicated outpatient telehealth room – which enables one local person a time to use videoconferencing equipment to speak to their specialists in Perth and Bunbury.
Ms Elms said the new hospital, which is due to open later in 2018, would have an added telehealth room specifically for patients with mental health conditions, as well as two mobile telehealth trolleys.
“This will allow three more people to access telehealth services at any one time,” she said.
“The new dedicated mental health space will make it much easier for mental health patients to access care – currently, they have to either wait for a specialist to visit town or they have to travel for appointments.”
Ms Elms said the increased facilities were coming at a good time as a recent increase in the use of telehealth had made the South West the busiest telehealth region in WA – with nearly 3000 outpatient appointments being held using telehealth in 2016/17.
“The outpatient telehealth service has grown right across the South West, and in Warren there has been a jump from 72 occasions of service in 2014/15, to 196 in 2016/17,” she said.
“We expect that the added technology in the new building will enable many more local people to speak to their specialists from here, without having to drive to Bunbury or Perth – saving them from travel-associated expense and stress.”
The new Warren Health Service will bring together a range of health services in one convenient location. Services will include an expanded, modern emergency department, upgraded medical imaging and improved technology support for clinicians and patients, bringing 21st century healthcare to Manjimup and surrounding districts.
The construction of the Warren Health Service is part of WACHS’s $300 million capital works program to improve capital infrastructure in 37 towns across the Wheatbelt, Great Southern, Midwest and South West regions.
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