The government of Victoria, a state in Australia, has announced plans to implement a virtual 24-hour consultation system, which will enable patients and their caregivers to have access to specialised paediatric experts and services.

The state is also mandating the use of standardised and age-specific charts for recording vital signs of the paediatric patients.

These standardised charts, called as the Victorian Children’s Tool for Observation and Response (ViCTOR), are currently being leveraged in several health services in the state to understand and respond to clinical deterioration in paediatric patients.

This new escalation system will be designed in consultation with health services and experts.

As per an annual report by Safer Care Victoria, the state’s healthcare agency, Victoria recorded 240 sentinel events in 2021-2022, an increase from 168 recorded in the previous year, and of the 240 recorded cases, 38 were paediatric patients.

Sentinel events are those unexpected incidents that lead to either serious harm or death of a patient while being under the care of a health service and where such an occurrence could have been prevented.

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Victoria Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas said: “Every sentinel event is a tragedy. We will learn from each and every event to honour the children affected, and to ensure that it does not happen again – that’s why we’re making these important changes.”

“We will implement the three key recommendations to make sure all Victorian children receive the best possible care.

“Families who have lost their children because of a paediatric sentinel event have driven the launch of Safer Care for Kids and will be critical to its success – we thank them for their tireless and passionate advocacy.”

This state-wide escalation system will enable caregivers and parents to raise their concerns with healthcare staff if they find alarming or deteriorating changes in the condition of their children, reported

The government is yet to provide a specific timeline for this endeavour, which draws inspiration from Queensland’s Ryan’s Rule initiated in 2013 to help parents in raise concerns about the deteriorating health of their children.