Portland District Health is recognised by the community as having an Emergency Department (ED) but in fact we are classified as an Urgent Care Centre (UCC) offering a 24 hour service for the Greater Glenelg Region.
The dedicated nursing staff and medical staff care for over 7500 patients annually. These include comparable numbers of critically ill patients as Warrnambool Base Hospital as well as medical conditions, heart attacks, trauma and minor injuries. Approximately 15% of all presentations are children under the age of 14.
On average, for every 10 patients that present to Portland District Health UCC, 9 are treated locally, keeping families together during times of illness and injury. Complex patients that require specialist care are able to be transferred in a timely fashion to the clinical expertise they require through our strong links with Melbourne hospitals and retrieval services. With the addition of the new Helipad, transfers have been more efficient and timely
Thanks to Alcoa and their generous annual donation, if children and young adults (up to the age of 21) require transfer to other facilities, we are able to provide their immediate families with reimbursement for travel expenses and some accommodation to ensure that these complex patients have the support of a family member with them during this difficult time.
As part of our commitment to provide patient’s with the best care possible, we are fortunate to have Telehealth facilities available within our UCC. This technology enables our nursing/medical staff to consult, via television screen link, to other facilities, allowing specialist consultations to occur direct. Facilities that we link with include, Warrnambool Emergency Dept., the Royal Children’s Hospital, Royal Melbourne, The Alfred and Adult retrieval Victoria.
In 2017 we were fortunate to be able to commence our EyeConnect service. This service allows medical and nursing staff to examine a patient’s eye following trauma and transmit images direct to the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital for specialist review, meaning most patients will be able to stay in Portland and be treated instead of having to travel to Melbourne or Geelong for a specialist consult
Urgent Care Centre also staffs a Short Stay Observation Unit for those patients requiring an extended period of monitoring but not requiring a full hospital admission. The benefit is that they continue to receive the quality care provided within the UCC but in a quiet and more comfortable unit attached to the UCC. It has all the features of the hospital ward including hot meals, TV, and a bed rather than an UCC trolley.
Looking to the future, we are also planning an Outpatients Plaster Clinic for basic fracture management. This will enable booked appointments to be made to manage fractures without having to go into UCC. It is anticipated – that this will considerably reduce the waiting times of patients presenting to Portland District Health for fracture management.
We are committed to providing a quality service that meets the community’s expectations. The department is physically very well appointed with recent upgrades to safety with CCTV and duress alerts installed. Portland District Health has also purchased and installed critical care monitoring throughout the department. To provide quality care, nursing and medical staff continue to be proactive in professional development: attending internationally accredited critical care courses, participating in national research and attending emergency-specific training courses. We also continue to have senior emergency medical specialists who treat patients and train staff in a supported clinical environment.