Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade has announced the introduction of the South Australian Virtual Emergency Service (SAVES) to hospitals at Booleroo Centre, Burra, Orroroo, Peterborough, Riverton, Snowtown, Kingston, Millicent, Penola, Eudunda, Kingscote, Coober Pedy and Yorketown.
SAVES enables country patients to conduct face-to-face consults with doctors based at the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency (RDWA) in Adelaide using video conferencing equipment via the digital telehealth network.
“SAVES demonstrates the Marshall Liberal Government’s commitment to improve the level of health care provided to country South Australians,” said Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.
“SAVES supports local nurses to deliver hands on emergency care 24 hours a day.
“Accessing medical support remotely allows doctors to take time off between the hours of 11pm and 7am while still ensuring patients receive high quality care close to home.
“The Marshall Government will also provide Country Health SA with teaching hospital funding in a bid to get more student doctors out into the regions.
“The State Liberal Government has promised to double the number of medical interns in the country as part of our plan to recruit, train and develop health professionals to deliver the health services that country South Australians need.”
Country Health SA’s Executive Director Medical Services, Dr Hendrika Meyer, said SAVES sites have been selected where it is difficult to provide a 24/7 medical service.
“SAVES provides remote medical assistance to Triage category three, four and five patients presenting to accident and emergency areas at hospitals where the resident GP is unavailable or chooses not to attend,” Dr Meyer said.
“Local GPs will still have the option of being called out to treat high acuity patients, and anyone who requires critical care will, as the case is now, be referred to MedSTAR.”
RDWA Chief Executive Officer Lyn Poole said all of the SAVES doctors are experienced rural GPs.
“The SAVES program has been well received by the initial sites that signed up to the service, providing support for resident nursing staff, GPs and their communities,” Ms Poole said.
SAVES is already available in Cleve, Cowell, Cummins, Elliston, Kimba, Streaky Bay, Wudinna, Karoonda, Lameroo, Meningie, Pinnaroo, Tailem Bend, Strathalbyn, Laura, Hawker and Quorn.