partnering stronger communities

health boost for portland
An innovative online program, being funded by Alcoa, is bringing specialist medical support directly into the emergency department of Portland District Health.

Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine (CREM) Director and Portland Emergency Department Director, Dr Tim Baker said doctors in rural hospitals, such as Portland, are often isolated from specialist support.

But the new monitor and web viewer, now installed at Portland District Health, connects patients in the region to a network of skilled specialists around Victoria - allowing local doctors to consult specialists who are able see and monitor their patients via on-screen images.

Dr Baker said the system is ensuring patients get the very best care available. He said Portland hospital staff already consulted specialists from larger centres on a regular basis and transferred information such as X-rays and photographs.

“Rural hospitals simply cannot employ every type of medical specialist and it is not uncommon to seek specialist support a few times per week.

“With the new monitor, an emergency physician can now call for advice and the specialist can see the patient and monitor their vital signs. As they say, a picture tells a thousand stories.

“The specialist can log-in and view streaming patient data remotely from virtually anywhere.”

Dr Baker said the equipment collects a patient’s pulse, blood pressure, heart rhythm and breathing patterns and monitor trends such as falling blood pressure or increasing pulse rate. The web viewer makes the information available on a secure internet site.

“The Panorama weblink is the most important aspect of this telemedicine capability in that it provides direct access to the vital signs that are so important in assessing a critically ill patient,” he said.

Dr Baker said it would be used for the safe care of patients with a variety of critical conditions or injuries, and would be used to monitor patients waiting for transfer by air services to other hospitals.

Dr Baker thanked Alcoa for our support: “This equipment will save lives,” he said.

Based at Deakin University in Warrnambool, the CREM is also funded by Alcoa of Australia in conjunction with the Department of Health.

new playground for wagerup community
The children of Cookernup, near Alcoa’s Wagerup Refinery, have a brand new playground.

A joint effort by the local community, Harvey Shire, the federally funded Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program (RLCIP) and Alcoa has enabled the playground to become a reality. It is located adjacent to the Cookernup Community Centre.

Cookernup Community Association's Ian Willis said there were a lot of local donors to the project.

"We had good support from some of the old, local families, plus a collection tin at the general store," he said.

"Alcoa, the Federal Government and the Harvey Shire were the major donors; without them it wouldn’t have happened.

“It's proving very popular, in fact it was being used even before it was finished!"

Harvey Shire Community Development Officer Jeanette Entwhistle said that the playground promotes physical health among children and encourages families in the area to socialise.

The Shire’s Engineering Asset Officer, Leo Fimmano, said the playground adheres to the all the relevant Australian standards.

“The way the three organisations worked together was great and we have a very good outcome,” said Leo. “It’s really tremendous.”

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Click image to enlarge.

CREM Director Dr Tim Baker says the new online program for Portland District Health’s Emergency Department, funded by Alcoa, will ensure patients get the very best care available.

Click image to enlarge.

Cookernup’s new playground. Locals Paul and Robyn Allingham (front left) with Ian and Sharon Willis and son Jack. Alcoa’s Tom Busher (rear left) and Harvey Shire’s Jeanette Entwhistle and Leo Fimmano.