Fast facts about new emergency care services

21 Jul 2020

Posted June 6, 2017

Yesterday the State Government announced that the Mount Barker Hospital would have a full-time doctor on-site next month ahead of a multi-million dollar expansion of emergency department services.

Please note that patients with life-threatening conditions such as stroke, heart attack or major road trauma will continue to be transferred to specialist units at Flinders and the Royal Adelaide.

Call triple zero (000) in an emergency or, if it’s not life-threatening but you need some advice, call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.”

  • Prior to the overnight doctor trial, local GPs provided an “on-call” emergency care response after 10pm at night, resulting in many people being directed to metropolitan hospitals.
  • Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie says not having access to a doctor for emergency care after hours was one of the biggest complaints she received from residents in the Mount Barker and surrounding districts during the election campaign last year. After election win she made it a priority to meet with the State Government and advocate strongly for better after hours emergency care.
  • Around 450 people presented for emergency care at Mount Barker Hospital during the hours of 10pm-7am during the three-month trial of having a doctor on site overnight.
  • State Government will invest $6.7 million in Mount Barker Hospital’s emergency services over four years. $859,000 in 2017/18; $1.89 million in 2018/19; $1.949 million in 2019/20; $2.1 million 2020/21.
  • $859,000 has been set aside in 2017/18 to provide a doctor on site, extra staff and other resources at the emergency department 24-hours a day.
  • Summit Health, which will provide the doctor from July, has the discretion to bulk bill patients or charge a gap for medical consults. The billing situation will be similar to visiting a local GP clinic.
  • Government will have open tender process for medical businesses to provide the service in following three financial years. The contract will include a cap on any gap that can be charged.
  • Patients admitted to hospital after visiting the emergency department are treated as public patients and incur no cost.
  • The $5.9 million allocated from 2018/19 to 2020/21 will fund the emergency service, buy extra equipment and improve staff training. For example, the hospital is buying more cardiac monitors.
  • Life threatening conditions such as stroke, heart attack and major road trauma will go to Flinders Medical Centre or Royal Adelaide Hospital. Patients with conditions requiring specialists and specialist equipment will be transferred to the most appropriate facility.
  • Mount Barker will be upgraded over three years to treat more complex conditions.
  • No ‘regional’ hospitals have 24-hour access to X-ray services. South Coast has an on-call service available until 10pm.

Photograph: Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie with State Health Minister Jack Snelling at the announcement of $6.7 million over four years for the emergency department.

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