Permanent funding for St Vincent's Alcohol & Drug Telehealth Service

Permanent funding for St Vincent's Alcohol & Drug Telehealth Service

24 Feb 2021

In 2019 St Vincent’s Health Australia’s Inclusive Health Program provided funding for an Alcohol and Drug Telehealth Service pilot with Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD). 

The pilot program provided Addiction Medicine Specialist clinics via videoconferencing to facilitate access to specialist care for people living in remote and rural areas in the Murrumbidgee region who are living with substance use dependence. 

Since the pilot launch, 164 clients have received specialist care via telehealth, and the service currently has an ongoing caseload of 81 clients, of which 51 are receiving Opioid Substitution Therapy under St Vincent’s prescribers. 

An evaluation of the pilot initiative revealed that wait times to receive addiction specialist care in MLHD have reduced from two-three months to less than one week, and 100% of clients strongly agree or agree that telehealth is a convenient way to receive their care.

Following the success and proven effectiveness of the pilot program, NSW Ministry of Health have allocated permanent, ongoing funding for the St Vincent’s Alcohol and Drug Telehealth Service. This will allow for the continuation of the service to MLHD beyond the pilot period, additionally it will facilitate the expansion of the service to support SNSWLHD, FWLHD and WNSWLHD on an ongoing basis. 

This is great news for vulnerable people affected by substance use disorder who are living in rural NSW, and a testament to St Vincent’s Alcohol & Drug Service team and expertise.


Marie Hamilton-Smith, Project Manager, Alcohol and Drug Telehealth Service

Marie A_D Telehealth