Ensuring people in rural and remote hospitals receive high quality specialist care close to home

Western NSW Local Health District

Published 4 August 2021. Last updated 11 November 2022.

vCare is a designated virtual unit that provides specialty-level advice, critical care expertise, transport, logistics, and coordination support across Western New South Wales Local Health District (WNSWLHD). vCare provides high level care close to a person’s home.

WNSWLHD is geographically the largest local health district (LHD) in NSW. At 246,676 square kilometres, it covers 31% of NSW and provides healthcare to a population of over 278,759. WNSWLHD has 38 inpatient facilities including:

  • three major rural referral hospitals
  • four procedural hospitals
  • six community hospitals
  • 25 Multipurpose Services (MPSs).

WNSWLHD patients generally have poorer health outcomes due to a range of factors including the scale and diversity of the district creating logistical challenges for the movement of patients and staff.

vCare works to address these factors by ensuring people in rural and remote hospitals receive high quality specialist care close to home.

Since its establishment in 2006, the vCare service has continually evolved to meet the needs of rural and remote communities through improving access to services and delivering better health outcomes for residents. Today, vCare operates as a 24/7 service using a single point of access (a 1800 number).

Advanced virtual care systems to provide:

  • rural doctors and nurses with consultant-level advice on immediate life threatening or time critical conditions
  • coordination of inter-facility transfers of acute patients requiring specialist and post-specialist care, including logistics planning and tasking
  • remote monitoring of patients in rural facilities to support early recognition of clinical deterioration and appropriate escalation.

Clinical responsibility for patients remains with the bedside clinical team (this may include other virtual clinicians).

vCare is focused on delivering the right care, at the right time, in the right place, all of the time. Empowerment and capability building of rural clinicians is also central to enabling person centred management of patients in their own community

Download Virtual Care: vCare - PDF


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Virtual careIntegrated careWestern NSWRural and regional
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