South Australia’s health department says cross-border community members living in Victoria will not be turned away from SA care, despite the death of an unborn baby interstate.
- Victorian cross-border community residents are being assured they can access emergency care in SA
- The death of an unborn baby in NSW has prompted questions about access to urgent medical care
- SA Health says people should dial triple-0 and will be taken to their nearest hospital in an emergency
Concerns about cross-jurisdiction restrictions were raised a week ago when the family of a pregnant woman from New South Wales said having to access urgent treatment in Sydney, instead of the nearer city of Brisbane, may have contributed to the death of the woman’s unborn child.
For people in the Victorian town of Murrayville the closest hospital is Pinnaroo in SA, which is just 26 kilometres away.
The trip from Murrayville to Victoria’s Ouyen is 110km, while Mildura is 210km away.
Mallee Medical Practice doctor Sara Fensak said something similar would not occur in her local region.
“I would like to reassure people that medical care is always going to be available via Mallee Medical Practice and the hospitals at Pinnaroo and Lameroo.”
Patient transfers possible
Dr Fensak said her SA clinic provided a 24-hour, seven-day emergency service across the entire Mallee region, and that included those living in Victoria.
“There’s no issue with the border in an emergency situation and with the lesser lockdown situation, we’re [now] able to see people with urgent medical conditions as well,” she said.
Dr Fensak reinforced it was important people did not hesitate to call an ambulance in an emergency and that transferring cross-border patients to Adelaide was also a possibility.
“I have transferred some people from over the border to Adelaide, some of the logistics are a bit tricky, but it can be arranged, it may require masks or isolation,” she said.
Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network chief executive Wayne Champion backed the advice and explained essential traveller status allowed for emergency care.
He said there may be specific isolation requirements for people travelling with a patient, but it depended on individual circumstances.
“Staff will take appropriate precautions and infection control measures to reduce the risk of exposure,” he said.
“All patients presenting to hospital requiring emergency care will continue to be assessed and treated by nursing staff and will be transferred to the most appropriate hospital via SA Ambulance Service or MedSTAR if required.”