A better and more extensive VACU support network

Ambulance Victoria (AV) have undertaken a comprehensive process to strengthen and expand the Victorian Ambulance Clinicians’ Unit (VACU). Existing VACU clinicians, together with any new clinicians interested in joining the VACU Network, were required to undertake a comprehensive Expression of Interest (EOI) process to determine their suitability against clinical governance and practice management criteria, together with their availability and “fit” to best support AV people and their families.

I’m pleased to share that you that our expanded VACU (Victorian Ambulance Clinicians Unit) network is live.

We now have 121 qualified clinicians – psychologists, accredited social workers and occupational therapists – experienced in supporting people in challenging lines of work, and their loved ones at home who provide support. And importantly it’s free, completely confidential and available to all AV employees, first responders and of course, their families.

With new clinicians comes a wider range of specialisations on offer. If you find however, you are seeking a clinician with a particular specialisation not on offer through our VACU Network, a Mental Health Care Plan can be developed in consultation with your Local Doctor (GP), if your Doctor agrees that you need additional support. The support plan may include:

  • A referral to an expert, like a psychologist;
  • The types of mental health care that can support you; and
  • Other strategies to improve and maintain your mental health.

Where a Mental Health Care Plan is approved, the Government will pay some or all the cost for the current government approved recommendations regarding access to mental health care sessions with a mental health expert in a year, via the Medicare rebate.

Our eligibility criteria for access to the AV VACU network can be found here for reference.

It is important to note that under our eligibility criteria access to services for retired and former employees in the 12 months post-employment with AV is limited. As a family member of a retired or former employee, payment of services through the VACU Network by AV ceases as of the AV employees last day of employment with AV. If a family member wishes to continue with a clinician they have been seeing, they may do so but at their own cost. As mentioned above, a Mental Health Care Plan can be developed in consultation with your Local Doctor (GP) which will allow you to access support at a reduced fee.

If you have any questions regarding our VACU services feel free to contact our Senior Manager VACU, Sophie Barrett at sophie.barrett@ambulance.vic.gov.au or 0407 699 691.

Feedback on your experience with any of our support services is also encouraged and welcomed at WellbeingSupport.ServicesFeedback@ambulance.vic.gov.au

Kind Regards, Danielle North Director Wellbeing and Support Services

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