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Monash Children's Hospital Surgical Simulation Centre and Telesurgery Service opens

In May, The Hon Jill Hennessy MP, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services officially launched the new Monash Children’s Hospital Telesurgery Service, the first of its kind in Victoria, which uses the latest cutting edge telehealth technology to improve patient care and save lives.

The Victorian Government has provided more than $500,000 towards the service which has established a direct and live video link from Monash Children’s Hospital to regional operating theatres and emergency departments at Latrobe Regional Hospital, Central Gippsland Health Service and Bairnsdale Regional Health Service.

Minister Hennessey said the state-of-the-art telehealth technology is all about making sure kids in Gippsland get the very best care, when they need it.

“Monash Health is home to some of the world's leading paediatric surgeons. Doctors in Gippsland can now tap into their expertise, quickly and safely online,” she said.

“Modern technology is bringing specialist care in Melbourne closer to home for people in Gippsland. That means better health outcomes for our most vulnerable kids and more young lives saved.”

When treating patients, Gippsland doctors will be able to quickly get the very best advice and support from Monash’s Children’s Hospital’s top paediatric surgeons, when they need it, and securely online.

Gippsland doctors will also use the technology for professional development as they will be able to view operations at Monash Children’s in real time and join face-to-face seminars. This will help with attracting and retaining skilled doctors in Gippsland.

The project will be delivered from the new state-of-the-art Monash Children’s Surgical Telehealth Centre, which is located with the hospital’s surgical simulation centre and operating suites.

The Surgical Simulation Centre features a purpose-built operating theatre, paediatric and neonatal ward and procedures rooms.

These spaces allow for procedures to be monitored remotely and videoed, allowing students to experience real-life emergencies such as resuscitating a baby, or administering a catheter a young patient.

The project is also supported by a generous philanthropic gifts from Karl Storz Endoscopy and the Percy Baxter Charitable Trust managed by Perpetual.

Head of Surgery at Monash Children’s Hospital, Associate Professor Chris Kimber, said the opening represents an amazing opportunity to enhance the safe care of Victorian children.

“Monash Health encourages its staff to imagine big ideas and achieve them, I thank the organisational culture for allowing this dream,” Associate Professor Kimber said.

“We have a great team of surgeons who dare to imagine the future and with this dream we have realisied something special that will benefit generations of children to come thank you.”

Director of the Surgical Simulation Unit, Dr Ram Nataraja, says the facilities are unique in Australia and have been designed with the goal of training students in all types of paediatric emergencies.

“My experience is that medical students, put into a hospital or surgical environment tend to stay in corners, often too intimidated by their environment to ask questions or even come forward and observe,” Dr Nataraja said.

“This is something that I remember from my student days, and these educational spaces allow students to become familiar with these clinical environments earlier than usual.”

“These facilities also allow us to let students make mistakes in a safe environment, to find their role in an emergency.”

Monash Children’s Hospital, in partnership with Monash University, will become a centre for research into simulation-based medical education.