New in-reach service providing more care and support in the community
A new service based at the Launceston General Hospital (LGH) is supporting patients with chronic complex conditions to receive care in the community by providing rapid medical advice and support to GPs and other primary care health professionals.
The Rapid Access In-reach Service (RAIS) was launched earlier this year and is supporting patients and medical professionals in Launceston’s suburbs and surrounding regional areas.
Since commencing operations, the service has managed almost 170 referrals. This is a significant number of patients who have been supported to manage their conditions in the community, often without the need for unnecessary hospital presentations.
A dedicated clinical team led by general medicine physicians based at the LGH provide the service remotely, with a direct phone number available for GPs and Rural Medical Practitioners working in the community and district hospitals to seek advice.
The Rapid Access In-reach Service team can coordinate additional patient assessment and review if required, as well as referrals to other specialists or services within the Tasmanian Health Service. Patients with complex conditions who are at risk of deterioration and hospital presentation or admission are prioritised to receive support.
Importantly, this service helps achieve better outcomes for patients by supporting more people to stay in the community, maintain independence and a normal lifestyle, and manage their condition with support from their GP who knows them best.
Half of all preventable hospital presentations in Tasmania are related to chronic conditions, so this will also ease pressure on hospitals by avoiding unnecessary attendances.
Rollout of the service is part of the Tasmanian Government’s Long Term Plan for Healthcare in Tasmania 2040 – released earlier this year – and reflects the commitment to strengthening care for complex chronic conditions and supporting patients to remain in the community.
The service is currently operating from Launceston to Deloraine to the west, Scottsdale and St Helens to the east, George Town and Beaconsfield to the north, and Longford and Campbell Town to the south.
It will then expand into the North West once additional recruitment is completed.
The initiative is funded by the Australian Government with $6 million of funding committed for a three-year trial period.
Members of the Rapid Access In-Reach Service pictured: Dr Barathy Ramaswamy (General Medicine Physician), Dr Telena Kerkham (General Medicine Physician), Sandy Jones (Executive Assistant) and Fiona Taylor (Clinical Nurse Consultant)