August 30, 2021

Virtual ED extending hours to support and protect patients

To support and protect patients in the community, Northern Health’s Virtual Emergency Department (ED) is extending its working hours to 11.30 pm, instead of the usual 9.30 pm.

Dr Loren Sher, Emergency Physician, explained this temporary change is made so that residents in the north can have increased emergency access to virtual nursing and medical care.

“In many instances, we will be able manage a patient’s condition at home. Patients that need to attend the ED will be advised when it’s best to attend for their condition and will be given advice on how to manage their condition at home until they are seen in ED. This way, patients will spend least amount of time in the waiting room and the Emergency Department,” she said.

The Virtual ED also reduces the risk of COVID-19 exposure and helps our medical teams deliver quicker care to all patients. The virtual emergency staff will also be providing care for patients with COVID-19 in the community.

“With the current COVID-19 situation, we know our community are worried about accessing emergency care, so we are happy to provide some advice on how and when to come in. When it comes to patients in the community who currently have COVID-19, and they can contact us about their symptoms, especially if they think the symptoms are getting worse and we can asses and advise them,” Dr Sher said.

Currently, Northern Health has an excellent COVID-19 support program that looks after positive patients in the community, with the service operating during business hours. The extended hours of the Virtual ED mean that COVID-19 positive patients will now get support out of these hours.

“We have started working with our COVID-watch team, the hospital team that monitors COVID-19 patients in the community, and we will be helping them to provide an extended service for these patients. The Virtual ED is a way to get help out of hours, into the late evening,” said Miriam Woods, ED Nurse.

The Virtual ED is open to anyone living in our northern suburbs, and at this stage, patients don’t need to have a Medicare card to use this service.

Northern Health’s Virtual ED will be open from 1 pm – 11.30 pm during the COVID Peak period.

To access the Virtual ED, please head to: