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Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network Virtual Services

Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network
Project Added:
24 May 2021
Last updated:
11 November 2022

Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network (the Network) healthcare services are delivered in custodial and forensic settings that are geographically dispersed across NSW. The Network operates out of 37 correctional centres and six youth justice centres, two hospitals, police cells, local and children’s courts and various other community locations. The Network provides primary care, mental health, population health, drug and alcohol, adolescent health and Aboriginal health clinical services to meet the chronic and complex healthcare needs of the Network’s adult, adolescent and forensic patient cohorts.

The provision of virtual care within the Network’s diverse health settings is an integral component of efficient and comprehensive delivery of clinical services to patients. The Network supports a highly vulnerable population who have many complex health needs. A range of clinical services are delivered virtually to respond to the health needs of these individuals, who commonly have only had minimal contact with mainstream health services in the community. The Network cares for over 30,000 patients annually across more than 100 community, inpatient and custodial settings in metropolitan, regional and rural locations across New South Wales.

Since 2016, the Network has transitioned to a shared care model which uses consultation and collaboration. Primary care nurses (PCNs) in health centres (which are located within correctional and youth justice centres), can access specialised nursing and medical staff that are centrally based within the Network. This makes up the largest proportion of virtual care service provision for the Network.

Health centres access specialised services in the following ways dependent on the need:

  • Phone consultation, clinician to clinician
  • Phone consultation with the patient present
  • Video consultation with the patient present
  • In-person on site with the patient and the clinician present.

The Network’s use of virtual care also includes external specialist consultations delivered by Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) to custodial patients in the district’s catchment area. Virtual cardiology services are currently in the development phase with Prince of Wales Hospital (POWH). Expansion of virtual care into other LHDs across NSW is being explored by the Network to facilitate more equitable, timely and efficient provision of clinical services to its patient population.

Download Virtual Care: Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network Virtual Services - PDF

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