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  • More telehealth, ED boost to ease hospital pressure

    Author: AAP

More free telehealth appointments, a boost to Urgent Care Clinics and expanding emergency departments are part of a $480 million bid to ease pressure on NSW hospitals.

The health funding boost in the upcoming state budget is designed to avoid 290,000 visits to emergency departments each year and improve the flow of patients through the health system, according to the state government.

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It comes against a backdrop of a record number of serious presentations to triage services and ambulance responders.

Some $171 million is being pumped into the Healthdirect Single Front Door program, allowing more people in need of urgent care to have virtual medical appointments instead of going to emergency if deemed appropriate.

The service is free for anyone with Medicare.

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Urgent Care clinics that provide immediate care for non-life threatening conditions will also receive a $100 million boost, while $70 million will go towards expanding Emergency Department Short Stay Units.

An additional $31 million will be spent on expanding the capacity of the Hospital in the Home program.

Health Minister Ryan Park said the funding has been targeted towards strategically important areas that can provide alternatives to emergency departments.

"'We are building on the success of our virtual and urgent care services that bridge the gap between primary care and emergency care, and ultimately improving access to healthcare for people across NSW," Mr Park said.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said the package would ease pressure on staff and lead to better results for patients.

"This is a must-have investment to relieve pressure on the state's emergency departments and improve patient care," Mr Mookhey said.

"NSW can afford to do this. By cutting the state's debt, we have cut the state's interest bill.

"It means we can use those savings to relieve some of the burden on our health system."

The state government is expected to reveal further details of the package on Sunday morning.

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