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This was an innovation project supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.

Lead organisation

Numurkah District Health Service

Partners

  • Nathalia District Hospital
  • Cobram District Health
  • Kyabram District Health Service
  • Goulburn Valley Health (GVH)
  • Ambulance Victoria
  • Murray Primary Health Network
  • University of Melbourne Rural Health Academic Network

Summary

In 2017, approximately 10 per cent of all GVH emergency department (ED) presentations were patients from outlying rural areas with lower complexity conditions. 

These patients potentially could have been treated at their local urgent care centre (UCC) or primary health service, releasing the regional ED’s resources for other patients with more urgent or higher complexity needs.

A creative marketing and communications campaign led by Numurkah District Health Service helped to educate the local community on alternatives to the emergency department when seeking urgent care.

Aim

Relieve pressure on the GVH ED service and Ambulance Victoria by reducing uncertainty in the local community about where to go for treatment.

Outcomes

  • Reduced the number of lower complexity presentations to the GVH ED from target postcodes by 18 per cent
  • Established a Facebook page and website informing the community of appropriate avenues to seek lower complexity urgent care
  • Developed a text message-based platform to capture ongoing feedback and experience data from patients of four rural UCCs
  • Developed seven urgent care clinical pathways and a strong community of practice among project partners

Update

August 2019 – The project partners have continued their urgent care community of practice and collaborative clinical review process. The team also still maintains the Facebook page, website, and SMS patient experience monitor, with the latter being presented at the 2019 Rural Health Conference in Hobart.

Project summary

Page last updated: 17 Dec 2020

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