The Doctors Union opposes inadequate telehealth model in Regional Emergency Departments

16-Oct-2020


The Doctors Union (ASMOF) is currently addressing member concerns of telehealth services replacing doctors in Regional Emergency Departments. With already overstretched resourcing, the assessment of critically ill patients without a Doctor present is causing unacceptable:

  • risks to patient safety; and
  • levels of stress and anxiety for Doctors.

Telehealth services is not a substitute for in-person medical care. That is particularly the case in regional settings with limited ambulance services and significant distances between Regional Hospitals. The negligent, under-resourced and systemic failures being experienced in NSW regional hospitals must be brought to the Minister of Health’s attention and swift action should be taken to address these concerns.

The seriousness of ASMOF’s concerns have since been tragically realised, see: Sydney Morning Herald articles “We couldn’t believe it: Woman bleeds to death in NSW hospital with no doctors on site” “Health Minister demands action over ‘shocking’ death in hospital” and the earlier expose on 60 Minutes “The Greatest Loss”.

We do not accept that the telehealth model of care is a “standard and proven” strategy or in accordance with “Clinical Emergency Response Systems” as alleged by the District in question.

ASMOF is also working with our colleagues at the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association to bring about change. We will also be raising this matter in ASMOF’s submissions to the NSW Legislative Counsel’s Inquiry into health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW.

Your experiences with telehealth

ASMOF is now seeking to understand your experiences with the use of telehealth services in Emergency Departments across Regional NSW. Your feedback is essential to understanding the breadth of the problem and ensuring your interests are represented.

Please provide your feedback in relation to telehealth to elishkas@asmof.org.au.