Overnight doctor at mount barker hospital

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

In a major boost for Adelaide Hills residents, an overnight onsite doctor will be trialled at Mount Barker District Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.

The move, which will come into effect from 6 March, is designed to meet the growing needs of the people of Mount Barker and the wider region.

The trial coincides with changes to services at Strathalbyn and District Health Service, where doctors will no longer be on call for emergencies at the hospital between the hours of 10pm and 7am.

Regional Director Barossa Hills Fleurieu Region Debbie Martin said the changes follow significant consultation and planning between GPs and clinicians in Mount Barker, Strathalbyn and surrounding area.

“Having an overnight doctor at Mount Barker District Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital – the biggest hospital in the area – is vital to ensuring we meet the growing needs of the community,” Ms Martin said.

“A doctor is already onsite at Mount Barker between 6pm and 10pm we are expanding to now provide an overnight doctor who will remain onsite from 10pm to 8am.

“During the day, doctors will still be on-call at both hospitals to address medical emergencies.

“At Strathalbyn Hospital nurses are onsite overnight and will be supported by the SA Virtual Emergency Service (SAVES), which provides video conference equipment allowing them to triage patients in consultation with a doctor.

“These changes will create a more sustainable health service for the Adelaide Hills and Strathalbyn areas.”

Dr Jim Wilhelm at the Strathalbyn Medical Centre was one of a number of doctors consulted about changes to health services in Mount Barker and Strathalbyn areas.

“I am supportive of the new Mount Barker Hospital after-hours service, as the current after hours arrangements at Strathalbyn have become unsustainable due to increased workload after midnight leading to unsafe working conditions for local GPs,” Dr Wilhelm said.

“We identified the need for a permanent night-time doctor two years ago and it makes sense to locate this new night time service at Mount Barker Hospital which has a catchment of 70,000 people compared to Strathalbyn’s 15,000.”

Medical Director for Summit Health Dr Michael Taylor said he was pleased with the extension to services in Mount Barker.

“We’ve been providing a limited after-hours GP service for Mount Barker for the last 10 years,” Dr Taylor said.

“We are pleased that we will now be able to provide this overnight service. This is good news for the community.”

People who are seriously unwell are encouraged to call an ambulance on 000 at any time and be taken to the appropriate hospital.

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