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16 emergency departments will have access to extra medical support with the South Australian Virtual Emergency Service (SAVES) program being implemented in country hospitals.
SAVES links doctors with patients and their local nurses in country emergency departments via the existing Telehealth Network, enabling face-to-face consults using video conferencing equipment based at the RDWA offices.
Experienced rural GPs who now reside in Adelaide have been engaged by the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency to provide remote medical assistance to triage patients at local emergency departments when the GP is unavailable.
Therefore local GPs will now have the option of being called out to treat patients, allowing them to rest at night and patients will instead be treated over the SAVES network.
SAVES will be used with discretion throughout Cleve, Cowell, Cummins, Elliston, Kimba, Streaky Bay, Wudinna, Karoonda, Lameroo, Meningie, Pinnaroo, Tailem Bend, Strathalbyn, Laura, Hawker and Quorn.
Country Health SA Chief Executive Officer, Maree Geraghty says “Country GPs should be reassured that SAVES is not a replacement service… it is designed to support rural doctors’ existing practices, provide greater flexibility for their operating hours and improve their work-life balance by allowing them to take well-deserved time off.”
“It will be entirely the decision of the on-call rural GP whether to switch over to SAVES on any given night.”
At the official launch of the program Health Minister Peter Malinauskas said “This additional support enables local GPs and nursing staff to provide safe care as close to home as possible for people living in rural and remote communities.”