Objective There is a paucity of data regarding the provision of consultative outreach specialist surgical services to rural areas. This paper aims to describe a model of outreach consultative practice to deliver specialist surgical services to rural communities.
Design Analysis of prospectively collected data for consultations in a three month period for two surgeons based in Wangaratta.
Setting Two surgeons in regional Victoria based in Wangaratta, North East Victoria, conducting outreach consultations to Beechworth, Benalla, Bright and Mansfield. Participants All patients seen in consultations over a 3-month period.
Main outcome measures Patient workload, casemix of presenting complaint, consultation outcome including plan for surgical procedure.
Results Outreach surgical consulting was associated with a higher proportion of new consultations, and there was trend towards being more likely to result in a surgical procedure than consultations in the base rural centre.
Conclusions Outreach surgical consulting provides surgeons with a larger referral base and provides communities with better access to local specialists. Outreach practice should be encouraged for surgeons in regional centres.