A new Gippsland Primary Health Network pilot project will provide an afterhours medical service to residents of postcodes 3909 and 3887, including Lakes Entrance and Lake Tyers.

The project, supported by Gippsland Lakes Complete Health, will trial a community-led digital solution to support people who are isolated from after-hours face-to-face medical services in parts of East Gippsland due to distance and accessibility issues.

The virtual solution uses state-of-the art video conferencing technology to connect general practitioners, with eligible patients via safe, high-quality, telehealth consultations. Regardless of where the patient is based, general practitioners can conduct healthcare consultations with patients simply via video or phone at a convenient time and location.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said there were significant challenges across the region with the provision of after-hours primary care services in rural areas and research had shown that after hours emergency department presentations were high in Gippsland compared to the Victorian average.

“We are constantly looking at how we can increase access to services for our community,” Ms Proposch said. “This pilot project means residents can connect with a general practitioner from the comfort of their homes and it will reduce the significant after hours on-call burden placed on the general practices.”

“Importantly, continuity of care is at the heart of this project with patients encouraged to follow up with their regular general practitioner if necessary.”

“Enabling access to virtual consultations via an afterhours service is a positive step to increase access to remote communities in Gippsland.”

The new pilot project launched on the 16 October 2020. The service will be available between 6pm-8am during weekdays, after 12pm on Saturdays and all day on Sundays and public holidays for residents in areas with postcodes 3909 and 3887, including Lakes Entrance and Lake Tyers.

Patients can access virtual consultations by simply downloading the HealthNow App or calling the 1800 931 162 number, booking a virtual consultation and then waiting to receive a call from a clinician via video or phone.

Ms Proposch said the pilot after hours service marked an exciting milestone for residents living in these rural communities.

For further information, please visit https://healthnow.io/content/healthnow/gippslandphn.html

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