WHAT IS A “VMO” VISITING MEDICAL OFFICER?
There have been recent queries from community members seeking care/medical services within RDHS. The queries often lead to frustration as often people do not understand the “technical” relationship between the health service and the local GP’s.
A “VMO” or Visiting Medical Officer is the official term used for a GP in private practice who also provides medical services in a public hospital or health service. A GP must be granted “clinical privileges” by a relevant body of independent Medical Practitioners to enable them to provide clinical services to patients in a health service. They do this on behalf of the Board of the health service.
Your GP may or may not have applied for VMO status and this impacts upon their ability to care for you or not as an inpatient within RDHS. This is their choice as it is a voluntary relationship between the Board and individual GP (who manage their own businesses). VMO means that the GP is approved to provide medical services to;
- Their patients in hospital and
- Urgent Care attendances after hours (if “on call” roster, again voluntary).
The Urgent Care Centre is not an Emergency Department as it is not staffed by Medical Practitioners. VMO’s are rostered to provide “on call” services often now by telephone. If the roster has no VMO on call then you will be assessed by one of our Registered Nurses who are trained in a wide range of clinical areas and are able to provide the care you need. This ranges from managing a heart attack to a toothache and everything in between! The Urgent Care Centre is open to the community 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
If an assessment is completed by a Registered Nurse and no VMO is available you may expect then to be sent to the Mildura Base Hospital for further management, this is the normal course of action.
For any queries please feel free to contact the health service and ask to speak with the Senior Nurse on duty or myself (Mara Richards). Contact number for RDHS is 5051 8111.
Bruce Myers – RDHS Board Chair
Mara Richards – RDHS CEO