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Pictured working at the LRH site are Brad Askew (left) and Clancy Dyer from Cameron Outdoor.
Five thousand plants and more than 200 trees will help to soften the facade of the new Latrobe Regional Hospital acute and inpatient buildings.
Bairnsdale-based company, Cameron Outdoor is planting a range of native trees including flowering gums and shrubs at the Village Avenue construction site. The company began preparing the site and installing irrigation and drainage in March after completing landscaping works at the new Monash Children’s Hospital.
Cameron Outdoor senior manager Brad Montant said the LRH project was a rare opportunity to work closer to home.
“You don’t get many projects of this size in Gippsland so it’s been great for our staff to not have to travel too far,” he said.
The layout has been created by architecture firm HSPC and landscape architect Land Design Partnership. When people arrive at the new hospital building, they will be guided to the front entrance by a straight concrete pathway. It’s hoped this will reduce confusion on arrival, particularly for people who might be anxious or upset.
The designers have also identified some plant species that were indigenous to the Latrobe region and offer seasonal and sensory interest.
Cameron Outdoor is hoping to complete the project by the end of June.
LRH Telehealth Project Worker and Facilitator, Barb Radley says patients are already benefiting from the new service.
For many people in Gippsland, visiting a specialist at Latrobe Regional Hospital is a round trip of 300 kilometres or more.
However, a new telehealth service has reduced the need for long distance travel by enabling patients to connect with their specialist through an online video consultation either from their local GP clinic or home.
Since the service began in March, patients have been spared more than 2400 kilometres in travel to and from LRH.
“You realise you’re starting to save people not only kilometres, but time,” LRH Telehealth Project Worker and Facilitator, Barb Radley said.
“It might have been a five hour round trip, then there’s the cost of petrol and loss of productivity, particularly if you’re a farmer and have to be away for a whole day.”
Funded by Better Care Victoria, the telehealth service is currently available to people attending endocrinology and chronic heart failure outpatient clinics that live more than 15 kilometres from LRH. Patients of Aboriginal medical services are eligible regardless of their distance from the hospital.
“Quite often, appointments involve a physical examination so telehealth is not always suitable for every appointment. However it is useful for follow-up consultations,” Barb said.
“It’s a matter of it being clinically appropriate. Even though a patient wants to have a consultation in this way, we still need to seek the specialist’s approval.”
The next step is connecting to the specialist using a computer or tablet device. People using the service so far have opted to do so from their GP clinic or their home.
“If you don’t have a device or computer, you will usually have the support of your GP clinic. Sometimes the GP is involved if a physical examination is required. Knowledge about the patient’s condition may be shared between the GP and specialist. This is very much a shared care model,” Barb said.
Feedback has been positive and consideration is being given to bringing more outpatient clinics on board.
The telehealth program follows a pilot project for paediatric patients in 2015 where parents were able to bring their child to LRH for a video consultation with Melbourne-based specialists.
Last year, parents began video consultations from home with paediatricians at LRH.
“The paediatric clinic was the trailblazer and our focus now is to expand the program by encouraging more adult patients to have their consultation from home,” Barb said.
There is more information about the telehealth program for patients and GPs on the LRH website or by contacting Barb Radley on 5173 8022.
The Victorian Government has announced $2.62 million to expand the Special Care Nursery in the Thomson maternity unit at LRH.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy visited the nursery and met the parents of some of the babies in our care before the announcement.
The funding will enable LRH to double the number of cots to 12 which will significantly boost capacity to deliver neonatal care to premature babies and those with special needs.
LRH chief executive Peter Craighead said the funding would also allow for three rooms in maternity and three paediatric rooms in the Tarra unit to be remodelled. Work is expected to begin later this year.
The funding has been made available through the first round of the government’s new Regional Health Infrastructure Fund.
The Minister also formally announced a boost to telehealth services with Monash Health receiving $332,000 to work with LRH, Bass Coast Health, Bairnsdale Regional Health and Central Gippsland Health Service to increase access to telehealth consultations for paediatric specialist clinics.
LRH Board Chair Kellie O'Callaghan (far left) and Health Minister Jill Hennessy (second from right) meet Nicole and Nick Egan, the parents of twin girls who spent time in the Thomson Special Care Nursery.