July 18, 2022

Northern Health welcomes Premier of Victoria

The Hon Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria, visited Northern Hospital Epping this morning to announce additional funding for the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED).

The state government will provide a $162 million package to improve Ambulance Victoria’s operations, to help ensure patients are taken to hospital quickly, freeing up paramedics and ambulances to get back on the road faster.

As part of the funding, the VVED capacity will be doubled to allow up to 500 patients per day to access this service, which connects patients with non-life-threatening emergencies to nurses and doctors virtually via video call. It also allows paramedics to connect suitable patients to the program, while on scene, for virtual assessment, management and referral.

The eligibility criteria for the VVED will also expand to people living in residential aged care facilities and everyone on the COVID-19 Positive Pathway Programs.

In attendance with the Victorian Premier was The Hon Mary-Anne Thomas MP, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Felicity Topp, Acting Chief Executive Ambulance Victoria, and representatives from Northern Health and Ambulance Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister Mary-Anne Thomas and Felicity Topp met with Jennifer Williams AM, Northern Health Board Chair, Siva Sivarajah, Northern Health Chief Executive, Dr Loren Sher, Clinical Director VVED, Hayley Gray, Nurse Unit Manager VVED, and Ambulance Victoria representatives for a tour of our VVED at Northern Hospital Epping.

The tour was followed by a press conference, where Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement. Dr Loren Sher and Amanda Thornton from Ambulance Victoria spoke on how the VVED benefits patients, paramedics and the wider community. They were also joined by Doreen local, Valerie Patragoulas, who has used the VVED on multiple occasions and is thrilled with the service.

“Health care systems around the world are under pressure as we battle new variants alongside other respiratory illnesses – this package forms part of our plan to support our healthcare workers and get Victorians the care they deserve,” said Premier Daniel Andrews. 

“We’ll have more paramedics working alongside our nurses and doctors, to get more support to Victorians who can be treated in their home. Plus the tools to get patients the best care in the right place if they need to go to hospital.”

Minister Mary-Anne Thomas thanked health care workers for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This package will help ambulances and hospitals work more closely together to get people the care they need, as soon as they need it,” she said.

Left-right: Siva Sivarajah, Chief Executive Northern Health, Jennifer Williams AM, Northern Health Board Chair, Felicity Topp, Acting Chief Executive Ambulance Victoria, Minister Mary-Anne Thomas and Premier Daniel Andrews at the VVED
Dr Loren Sher speaking at the press conference
Siva Sivarajah, Northern Health Chief Executive and Jennifer Williams AM, Northern Health Board Chair (far left), with Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, Premier Daniel Andrews, Ambulance Victoria representatives, Dr Loren Sher and Hayley Gray (far right)
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister Mary-Anne Thomas meeting Dr Loren Sher, Clinical Director VVED
Dr Loren Sher with Ambulance Victoria representatives