Miles Doing What Matters: Queenslanders given access to first Virtual Emergency Care service

Published Thursday, 04 July, 2024 at 01:51 PM


The Honourable Steven Miles

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

  • The Miles Government is investing $27 million to expand virtual care services through the Queensland Virtual Hospital
  • Queenslanders can now access an online platform that will direct them to the appropriate care in their area, including the new state-first Virtual Emergency Care service
  • Additionally, the Queensland Telestroke Service will be integrated into the Virtual Hospital by the end of the year

Quality healthcare is just a click away for all Queenslanders, thanks to the Miles Government’s $27 million budget investment to bolster virtual care and telehealth services, through the Queensland Virtual Hospital.

At the forefront of this initiative is the launch of the Queensland Virtual Hospital’s Virtual Emergency Care service.

This groundbreaking statewide service, which will be staffed by doctors and nurses, means Queenslanders will have access to virtual unplanned and emergency care, providing an alternative to physically attending an emergency department.

It is easily accessible via smartphone, tablet or computer. People can also connect to the service through their phone by calling 13 HEALTH. 

The Virtual Emergency Care Service caters for conditions that require immediate attention but are not life-threatening. These could include acute respiratory illnesses, allergic reactions, rashes, bites, pain, infections, burns, children with fevers, gastroenteritis, vertigo and many more.

Queenslanders can go online and answer a few questions about their symptoms, so they can be provided with information that ensures they can access the appropriate care for their condition and specific needs.

This may include seeing a local GP that’s open at the time, attending an urgent care clinic or if appropriate, it will link them to the new Virtual Emergency Care Service.

This ensures efficient navigation of the healthcare system, recognising that virtual care may not always be suitable for everyone. 

The Queensland Telestroke Service will also be integrated into the Queensland Virtual Hospital’s services at the end of the year.

This integration will deliver a networked statewide approach to highly specialised, virtually enabled acute stroke care, offering clinicians in regional, rural and remote hospitals across Queensland 24/7 access to advanced stroke imaging, specialist assessments, and acute stroke treatment advice.

Given treatments for stroke are time critical, to ensure the patient’s best chance at recovery, this is a game changer for hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders living in rural or remote areas.

Delivered by Metro North Hospital and Health Service on behalf of the Queensland Virtual Hospital, the service will operate for 14 hours per day, from 8am to 10pm.

To access the virtual emergency care service visit: Virtual Emergency Care Service | Metro North Health

Quotes attributable to Premier Steven Miles:

“Quality healthcare wherever you live matters to Queenslanders, which is why I am so proud to announce this virtual care model.

“We know our hospitals are under pressure and that it’s harder than ever to secure a GP appointment, so bringing virtual care into Queenslanders’ homes is going to change lives.

“Whether you’ve woken up on the Gold Coast with a kid who has a fever, or you’re on a remote station with a rash or bite in the north west, I want every Queenslander to know we have your back.

“My first budget as Premier invested a record amount in Queensland Health, to deliver good quality healthcare to every corner of our state and the Queensland Virtual Hospital’s Emergency Care service will do just that.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Mental Health, and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman:

"During the pandemic we saw firsthand how virtual care helped us to work smarter and deliver healthcare to people in ways we hadn’t before.

“Digital health innovations like this help ensure people living in remote areas of Queensland receive the same level of care as those living in the cities.

“This free service is just one of the many measures we’re implementing to help families with cost-of-living pressures, while also taking the pressure off our busy emergency departments and delivering healthcare services closer to home.

“I’m so proud of our government’s record in ensuring all Queenslanders have access to world class healthcare, no matter where they live.” 

Quotes attributable to McConnel MP Grace Grace: 

“Free and accessible health care is a basic right and the Queensland Virtual Hospital’s Virtual Emergency Care service is delivering it in new and expanding ways.

“This means, in a state as big as Queensland, that people will have immediate access to care from their car, beside the road, from their home, from a paddock, from a boat, from anywhere, and that care will be the best possible available.

“Our Herston health precinct in Brisbane is at the heart of our world-leading multi-level healthcare system and this Virtual Emergency Care service is a vital part of getting the best care to all Queenslanders.”