RERN is a network of specially trained South Australian rural GPs that attend out-of-hospital emergencies in partnership with the SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) and the MedSTAR retrieval service. RERN doctors are linked to the SAAS communications network allowing them to be called to life threatening incidents in regional South Australia.
In January 2008, the need was identified for a method for rural doctors to assist in the management of out-of-hospital emergency patients, including motor vehicle accident victims at the roadside.
Rural doctors have historically attended roadside emergencies out of goodwill, however a formal structure was needed to provide a standardised call out method, a defined relationship with the South Australian Ambulance Service (SAAS) and to provide doctors with standard equipment to allow them to provide maximum benefits to patients. It was for this reason that RERN was established.
RERN GPs in partnership with SAAS, provide advanced clinical support for trauma patients in rural areas, often with support from MedSTAR. There is also a close working relationship between SAAS and MedSTAR with the RERN GPs to ensure the treatment provided meets the current standards of best practice.
In 2012-13 the number of RERN GPs grew to 28 across a range of country SA towns.The RERN GP has specific emergency and trauma training and is provided with specific trauma equipment. The RERN GP is therefore able to provide necessary emergency clinical interventions in the first critical period of the trauma where there would be limited or none if a RERN member was not available.RERN members are reimbursed by regional local health networks for their time and any clinical procedure that they may perform as part of the emergency call out. As it is a voluntary group, the doctors are under no obligation to attend call-outs.
SAAS and MedSTAR provide clinical support to the RERN doctor both on site and post emergency event. Joint training sessions and specific trauma training days are held with SAAS and MedSTAR for the RERN GPs. RERN has proven to be a sustainable model of care.
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