SA reopens its border for urgent medical treatment
Accessing medical services through South Australia, particularly if there is an emergency has been the status quo for people in the Far West for many years. Many specialist medical services are also provided by doctors who reside and have practises in Adelaide.
The decision of the South Australian Premier to close South Australia’s borders from 24 March 2020 had the desired effect to slow the spread of COVID-19 for South Australians but made the provision of medical services to the Far West, far more complicated. My office had been contacted by a number of anxious constituents who needed to see a medical specialist either in Broken Hill or in Adelaide. We’ve been able to provide them with accurate advice or direct them to a service that can.
I also wrote to the South Australian Premier and the Health and Welling Being Minister to advocate for these services to be reinstated, given the very small number of positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in the Far West of NSW. I had been meeting with the NSW Cross Border Commissioner regularly and raised this issue as well as communicating with the NSW Health Minister to support medical specialists being able to provide their essential medical services to the Far West Health district.
I’m pleased to say that this part of the state is now COVID-19 free and has been for some weeks. As of this week, a person receiving urgent and essential medical treatment is able to travel to South Australia. They do need to provide medical documentation, to prove the reason for travel across the border. This will be required at the check point in Oodlawirra. You will need to keep a record of close contacts during your stay. For more information on what is required https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/emergency-declarations/cross-border-travel
Visiting doctors providing specialty services in the Far West are not required to quarantine themselves when they travel back to their homes. This is the start of the shift to further services being accessible in South Australia for Far West communities. I’ll keep you posted.