App support for Orbost doctors

App support for Orbost doctors

The Orbost community will continue to have ready access to general practitioners following an initiative by Orbost Regional Health (ORH) to ensure ongoing staffing.

ORH has been recruiting permanent GPs for its medical clinic for a considerable time with limited success. It is currently reliant on locum GPs to provide medical consultations.

At the end of this month, two of ORH GPs, Dr Jyothi Vhardi and Dr Sam Inwang, will be leaving the medical clinic, leaving Dr Nadira Anis as the only permanent GP as the service continues to recruit.

Dr Anis will continue to be supported by locum GPs to ensure appointments are available for the Orbost community.

To support Dr Anis and the locum GPs, ORH has implemented a video-call based service for consultations in urgent care called My Emergency Dr.

My Emergency Dr is staffed 24/7 by emergency medicine doctors and the consultation is provided via an app. My Emergency Dr is able to diagnose and arrange treatment via the video-call, including prescriptions, x-ray and pathology referrals.

The service is successfully used elsewhere in Victoria with positive feedback from staff and patients. Nursing staff have been provided with education on the use of My Emergency Dr and will be in attendance during the consultation. ORH will continue recruiting permanent GPs to its medical clinic and is hoping the introduction of My Emergency Dr will assist.

The prospect of commencing practice in Orbost will be more appealing due to a reduction in the need to attend the health service after hours and an improvement to work/life balance.

“We appreciate the difficulties nationwide in attracting health professionals to live and work in country towns, but we believe an introduction to the lifestyle that Orbost offers will be a major inducement,” ORH chief executive officer, Vicki Farthing, said.

“Orbost Regional Health also acknowledges the assistance of the Victorian Government as it continues to support rural and regional services and communities to attract and retain GPs. Our GPs are a critical part of our health system and very important for our communities.”

The Victorian Government is also committed to increasing the number of rural doctors by funding the training this year of 289 new medical interns in rural and regional Victoria.