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Telehealth service on Gympie Hospital ‘Wish List’

Next weekend little William Stokes will be six months old, but he has already had a visit to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

In early April, 10-week-old William was having trouble breathing properly after contracting bronchiolitis – a type of chest infection.

Gympie mother Jenni Stokes said because of William’s age doctors had to monitor the youngster in hospital.

“I had been to the doctors a couple of days earlier and they said if he got worse to just bring him back,” Mrs Stokes said.

William Stokes 2

Photo: William Stokes at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

“He was 10 weeks old so the doctor said it was best to go up to Gympie Hospital. The doctors noticed William was struggling a little bit to breathe and because he was under 12 weeks they wanted him to go to SCUH to be monitored.”

Within hours the mum-of-four and her young son were transferred by ambulance to the major tertiary hospital at Birtinya.

“We stayed for a few hours overnight and thankfully we were discharged the next morning,” the childcare educator said.

William is just one of the many paediatric patients from the Gympie and Cooloola region who have made the trip to SCUH for treatment in the past year.

It’s also one of the reasons Gympie Hospital Acting Director of Nursing Nick Jones wants to bring an innovative Telehealth service into the paediatric room within Gympie Hospital’s Emergency Department.

“We have applied to our hospital foundation Wishlist to fund a Telehealth service specifically for our youngest patients in the Gympie region,” Mr Jones said.

“This service aims to provide emergency management support advice and guidance for our paediatric patients through videolink.

“It will be used to connect the top local paediatric specialists, based at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, to patients in the Emergency Department at Gympie Hospital.”

Photo: William Stokes at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Photo: William Stokes at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Mr Jones said the $19,532 project would support patients and families, improve health outcomes and provide timely expert advice.

“It will also assist in the transfer of unwell children to receive the specialist care they require, while also giving us the option of patients remaining here at Gympie Hospital with care provided locally.

“Avoiding that extra travel when not necessarily needed is of great benefit to families because making that 90km journey can add to the anxieties and personal cost to parents.”

Mrs Stokes said a Telehealth service would be beneficial to many families in Gympie.

“It would definitely be more convenient,” Mrs Stokes said.

“With William I felt okay going to SCUH because they have the specialists there, but it was a quick turnaround to just come back again.

“A week before we had William, we were transferred to SCUH with my other son and when I was pregnant I had to travel to Nambour and SCUH for appointments because I had gestational diabetes.

“Of course you would never risk the health of your children, but if you can avoid the travel, I know a lot of mums who would appreciate that.”

Wishlist will raise funds for the Telehealth service at next Saturday’s Wishlist Jazz & Wine Festival at Gunabul Homestead.

VIP tickets have now sold out, but $30 general admission tickets are still for sale.

The all-ages event has raised more than $62,500 in the past two years for Gympie Hospital and features an afternoon of live music, delicious cheese platters from Kenilworth Dairies, and a wide selection of fine wine from Get Wines Direct, beer and other beverages, plus a gourmet barbecue.

Wishlist Jazz and Wine is sponsored by Schuh Group, The Gympie Times and Zinc 96.1.

For tickets click here. Tickets are limited.

Wishlist is a not-for-profit organisation which directs funds to the needs of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service including Gympie Hospital.