The VST service has grown from a successful pilot program conducted between 2010 – 2013 with Bendigo Health which was then rolled out to an additional 15 rural and regional hospitals between 2013 – 2017. VST was administered during this time by The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, and was made possible with funding from the Health and Hospitals Fund and the Department of Health and Ageing.
Partners and funders during this period included the Victorian Department of Health, the Australian Government, Monash University, Ambulance Victoria and National Stroke Foundation.
The VST Program, as it was then known, was led by Professor Dominique Cadilhac (Research Lead) and Professor Chris Bladin (Clinical Lead). A number of research papers on the effectiveness of telemedicine were published during this time. Click here to access these papers.
In 2017 after commissioning PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an economic evaluation of the effectiveness of the VST Program, Victorian Department of Health recommended that VST should sit within Ambulance Victoria. A business case was developed and subsequently approved by the Ambulance Victoria Board of Directors and on 1 January 2018 VST officially transitioned to Ambulance Victoria.
The VST service now operates as business as usual within Ambulance Victoria. In July 2018 the first outer metro health service, Werribee Mercy Health, joined VST.
In March 2020 VST expanded to two sites in northern Tasmania – Launceston General Hospital and North West Regional Hospital, Burnie.