Northern NSW Local Health District Chief Executive Chris Crawford. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star
Northern NSW Local Health District Chief Executive Chris Crawford. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star Jay Cronan

Mullumbimby Telehealth open day

INTERESTED residents will soon have an opportunity to see a demonstration of the proposed telehealth system for Mullumbimby Hospital.

The Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Chris Crawford announced at a public meeting at Mullumbimby High School last night that the planned open day would give community members a chance to see how the Connecting Critical Care system worked, and discuss their views with himself and staff.

"Our first concern, as we consider whether to go ahead with this trial, is to reassure people that they will always receive the best possible care when they attend Mullumbimby Emergency Department," he said.

"The open day will provide community members and the media with an opportunity to see the telemedicine system in use and to understand how the system works as they consider whether a trial should proceed."

During the meeting Mr Crawford confirmed that following consultation a reference group, including community and clinical representatives would be established to guide, monitor and evaluate any pilot.

A Medical Officer would also be available in the early part of the trial period as an observer and to provide back up if required.

"Under the pilot, on the more difficult to fill overnight shift, the trained clinician who sees a patient would be a highly skilled nurse with the backup of a clinicians at Tweed Hospital via telehealth if needed," said Mr Crawford.

"We are continuing to actively recruit for more permanent Medical Officers."

Connecting Critical Care is a telehealth system currently used throughout Australia connecting clinicians from regional and remote areas to larger facilities.

The benefits for patients of telehealth include: 

  • Access to multiple high quality specialist clinical services at the point of care.
  • Ability to provide outreach support to geographically isolated referring hospitals where critically ill patients are infrequent but require time sensitive assessment and decision making.
  • Specialist consultants can see a patient earlier and instigate treatment earlier.
  • The patient is better prepared and stabilised if transport is required to a Regional Hospital.