Victorian virtual ED receives funding injection to double capacity by 2026

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The Victorian government has promised $235m over four years to hire additional clinicians to treat more than 1000 patients per day.

The Victorian government has committed more than $235 million to double the capacity of the state’s virtual emergency department from 550 to more than 1000 patient video consults per day.

Dr Suzie Miller, VVED clinical deputy director, told Health Services Daily the service’s digital model of care meant it would not need to double its current workforce capacity to facilitate the expansion, with the VVED expected to reach full capacity by the end of 2026. 

“The expected timeframe is to reach 1000 patients per day, double our current patient volume, by the 2025-2026 financial year,” Dr Miller said. 

“While we are recruiting new clinicians to meet increased volume, we will not need to double our workforce to double our volume because VVED’s expertise in digital health technology provides opportunities for efficiencies in virtual care.  

“All VVED clinicians are Australian-trained and AHPRA registered.” 

The investment will also be used to enhance the service’s direct referrals pathways, including the development of new referral and exit paths with hospitals and other service providers across the state, Dr Miller said. 

“VVED has developed numerous partnerships across the state, including with Ambulance Victoria, Nurse on Call, urgent care centres, residential aged care facilities, general practitioners, bush nurses, and disability centres,” she said. 

“The announced funding allows VVED not only to increase our referral volume from each pathway, but also to expand into new referral and exit pathways with hospitals and health care service partnerships in metro, regional, and rural Victoria. 

“VVED is also developing virtual extended care wards and hot clinics to further address the pressure on Victorian hospitals.” 

First established as a pilot program by Northern Health in October 2020, the VVED was rolled out statewide in April 2022, with 86% of patients treated through the service prevented from seeking unnecessary hospital treatment in an ED, the announcement said. 

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