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Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED)

The VVED service is available across Victoria 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for healthcare professionals from Ambulance Victoria (AV), hospital urgent care centres, residential aged care facilities and general practitioners (GPs) to refer patients. Patients can also self-register to use the service.

VVED is not for emergencies. In an emergency you should always call Triple Zero (000).

Sarah: I’m a type 1 diabetic. I’ve had diabetes for over 20 years now. I’ve never had to call an ambulance before because my condition’s really well managed. When my beautiful kids bring gastro home from kinder, however, if I catch that bug, it wreaks havoc with my blood sugars. One night it was quite late at night, I wasn’t feeling really well, and my blood sugars started to plummet downwards. My sweet husband said, “Sarah, I need to call an ambulance.” And then the crew came to my home.

Jason: We attended Sarah and her condition requires to administer the medication to her to improve her blood sugar and reduce her nausea and vomiting.

Sarah: The crew were incredible. Part of that process. They said to me, “Do you know what Sarah? We really need to make sure that everyone’s sort of on board and happy with this. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to call a clinician in the emergency department.” And I said, “What do you mean? What is this?” And they said, “It’s called VVED. We’re going to basically go onto this webpage, log in and basically get an ED physician on the phone to have a video consult.” And my mind was blown. I thought this was amazing. I’d never heard of this before.

Dr. Susan Miller: VVED stands for the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department. Sometimes we just call it the Virtual ED. And this is a Department of Health funded, 24/7, 365 day acute care service that any Victorian can use. The main goal of the Victorian Virtual ED is to get the right patient, the right care at the right time in the right place.

Sarah: As a mum with two little kids, getting to the hospital can be really challenging. So, now that I know that resource is available to me, I absolutely will utilise it in the future moving forward. It doesn’t cost me anything. I can access it from anywhere that I’ve got internet access or a mobile device, and I have got the privilege of being able to speak to an emergency department physician about the concerns that I’ve got.

Jason: Virtual Emergency Department’s useful for patients who have caring responsibilities, who have limited ability to transport themselves to the hospital or to their local doctor, especially when they don’t necessarily need an ambulance transport.

Dr. Susan Miller: Even though this is a video call, even though I can’t see and touch you in person, we’re still able to provide exceptional care.

Sarah: I think it’s absolutely incredible, the access with people to not need to rely on getting out in their car or getting out into the community and going to actually see someone face to face just adds that extra level of availability and accessibility for people in the community. It’s amazing.

What the VVED is

The VVED is a video telehealth medical consultation service that connects patients with emergency clinicians, all from the comfort of their own home, residential aged care facility or GP clinic. It is an alternative care pathway that triages and treats patients with non-life-threatening conditions in a virtual environment, using a smart device.

The VVED is staffed by emergency doctors and specialist nurse practitioners who conduct clinical assessments and provide medical advice virtually. Where required, they will provide early treatment and referral to specialist services, GPs and other services for ongoing management.

If the VVED determines that a person’s care needs are best managed face-to-face in hospital, then ambulance transport will be organised if the patient is too unwell to travel in a private car.

The service is not intended to replace any existing healthcare service pathways. Instead, the VVED provides additional pathways for the community to access.

Northern Health established the VVED as a pilot project at Northern Hospital Epping in October 2020 to help patients in the north with COVID-19 symptoms, relieve pressure on emergency waiting rooms, and treat more people from the comfort of their home. The program is now open to all patients across Victoria.

How the VVED works

The VVED service is available state-wide.

Patients using VVED don’t require a referral to access the service and can connect directly from any personal device with a camera (mobile phone, PC, laptop or tablet). Patients can also be referred to VVED by their GP or other health professionals.

How the VVED is accessed

The VVED is available to everyone in the community aged over three months. There are a number of ways VVED is accessed:


You can self-refer to VVED if you are experiencing low acuity/ non-emergency clinical symptoms and you think you might need medical attention and your usual GP/health service might be closed or not available. These symptoms might be things like pain, vomiting, urinary infection and influenza.

Through your GP, nurse or health service provider

Your GP, nurse or health service provider might refer you to VVED instead of calling an ambulance or asking you to attend an emergency department in person.

Through Triple Zero (000)

When you call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance, you may be directed to VVED by the triage practitioner on the phone, this includes residents in aged care facilities (Residential Aged Care Response (RACER) Pathway).

Through ambulance paramedics

If an ambulance is called and reaches you, paramedics may refer you to VVED instead of transporting you to an emergency department. It is expected that the attending crew will remain on scene until the VVED clinician has advised they are no longer required.

Using VVED

It’s important to know:

  • You will always be asked to provide consent to use VVED before being referred to the service
  • AV staff have defined inclusion and exclusion criteria for VVED referral and a thorough assessment is always completed with the patient before suggesting VVED. If at any time a patient’s needs change then an ambulance and transport to the nearest emergency department will be arranged.
  • If the VVED clinician advises that ambulance transport is required following their assessment, they will contact AV directly to request dispatch.
  • Interpreters are available. The patient’s preferred language can be nominated in the registration form and an interpreter requested at the start of the consultation process.