Minister for Health launches expanded Urgent Care Service for western Sydney in announcement at Westmead Health Precinct

Aged care residents across western Sydney will be able to access faster care and avoid unnecessary trips to hospital, thanks to a significant expansion of the successful inTouch Urgent Care Service.

The expansion, announced by the NSW Government today, will help ease pressure on western Sydney’s busy emergency departments by providing additional support to the 65 Residential Aged Care Facilities in western Sydney.

Minister for Health Ryan Park said the expanded inTouch Urgent Care Service will allow more residential aged care patients in western Sydney to access care in the right place, at the right time, at no cost to the patient.

“The Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) inTouch model currently avoids over 100 aged care residents a month from having to go to an emergency department to access the care they need,” Mr Park said.

“The inTouch model allows a comprehensive assessment, using video conferencing technology to link up patients with their GP, family, and aged care staff, and offers direct access to specialists, diagnostics, and clinicians to work through the best care plan.”

Expansion of the service will boost the number of doctor, nursing and administrative staff and provide:

  • Increased referrals for patient from aged care facilities, NSW Ambulance and general practice
  • More virtual health care consultations
  • Improved systems for assessment, care protocols and clinical documentation to streamline care

Western Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive, Graeme Loy, said the expansion will provide a better experience for western Sydney’s aged care residents, their family and staff.

“Urgent care services are intended to support people with urgent health care needs in appropriate settings outside of emergency departments,” Graeme said.  

“Many people who visit our emergency departments could receive more timely and better tailored care in a community setting, such as a GP clinic, but that care has become increasingly difficult to access.

“By ensuring older western Sydney residents get the high-quality care they need for less urgent conditions, the model frees up NSW Ambulance paramedics and our busy ED staff to focus on those in need of emergency care.”

inTouch was founded in 2021 by WSLHD to support at-home care for over 45,000 COVID-19 patients, and commenced the clinical coordination of RACF residents in April 2022. The inTouch Urgent Care Service is being expanded as part of the NSW Government’s $124 million program over two years to deliver 25 Urgent Care Services