International Patients Service spans the Pacific

01-08-2016

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Did you know The Wesley Hospital provides a clinical co-ordination service for a significant number of overseas patients seeking acute medical treatment in Australia?

The International Patients Unit oversees over 25 cases each month, referred primarily from the Pacific Islands, such as Nauru, Vanuatu, Fiji. Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, working closely with the local clinicians to provide tertiary hospital care, particularly for patients requiring diagnosis and treatment.

All cases are reviewed and triaged by the hospital's Director of Medical Services, Dr Luis Prado, who determines the appropriate clinical referrals.

The Wesley is also the hospital of choice for the two major cruise ship companies, P&O and Royal Caribbean, providing care for staff and passengers when their vessels are in dock.

Jackie Coleman-Dunne, who runs the unit, says the medical reasons for international patients coming to the Wesley can range from difficult to diagnosis abdominal pain  to broken bones, heart surgery or treatment for cancer.

“It is not exaggerating to say that it has been lifesaving for a lot of these people and it brings reassurance to know that a service like this is available. We will always help or point them in the right direction to get the help they need.”

For the past five years Jackie has been the “first port of call” - the welcoming and friendly face  - for our overseas patients, assisting them with medical transfers, emergency or planned, arranging doctors, organising visas, negotiating health funds and answering inquires. One recent case involved organising a birth for a mum from Nauru. “The mother had cardiac problems and they needed to get her over urgently to have the baby sooner rather than later – the baby ended up in special care for a few weeks but all was well.”

 Coming from overseas herself –​ Jackie hails from Hasting in the UK – she has empathy for people who are far from home. “I can relate to their concerns. It can be extremely difficult navigating the health system in another country without your normal support networks. The simplest things can seem overwhelming.”

For more information, visit our International Patients Service web page, or contact the service on 07 3232 7837 or Intl.Patient.Services@uchealth.com.au