- Living, working or travelling in rural and remote areas of South Australia means that may be harder for you to access some health services.
- It is important to be familiar with health services in your area, so that you can be get help when you or your family member need it.
- Telehealth allows remote video and phone contact with health practitioners.
- You may be eligible for travel and accommodation support for medical appointments.
Living, working and travelling in rural and remote South Australia (SA) offers unique experiences. When you're in a rural or remote part of South Australia, some health services and specialist health care can be harder to access. It is important to plan ahead and know what is available to you in your area.
South Australia borders every state of mainland Australia and large areas are rural or remote. Around 1 in 5 South Australians live outside the greater Adelaide capital city region. Agriculture, manufacturing and mining are the main industries in South Australia.
What types of health services are available?
Hospitals and health services in rural South Australia offer a range of services including a 24/7 remote health monitoring service. The Country Referral Unit can help you access many health services. You can call them on 1800 003 307 between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday.
- allied health
- dental health
- mental health
- home and community care
- midwifery and community health services
Multipurpose services provide integrated health and aged care services in some rural communities in South Australia. Call 1800 200 422 for more information about services near you.
Some agencies provide outreach specialist services, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service operates doctor and nurse clinics. To book an appointment call (08) 8648 9500 during office hours or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For after-hours medical help, call 1800 RFDS SA (1800 733 772) and ask to speak to the on-call RFDS doctor.
Finding services and online support
Online health information can be helpful. It's important to use credible sources, such as healthdirect's service finder.
You can call healthdirect for free 24-hour health advice for non-urgent care. Call 1800 022 222 to speak with a registered nurse.
If you are pregnant, or a parent of a young child and have a health question, the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby video call service allows you to speak face-to-face with a maternal child health nurse. Video call is a free service and is available from 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week (including public holidays).
South Australia Digital Telehealth Network helps people and health practitioners in remote areas contact specialists and major hospitals through audio and video calls. This can, in some situations, reduce your need to travel to a medical appointment.
My health record
My Health Record is a secure online summary of your health information. It allows for better communication between your doctors, health services, specialists and hospitals. This digital summary stores your important health information in one place. Your doctors and other health providers can access the information they need to care for your health.
Travelling to medical and health services
If you need to travel long distances for medical and health services, you might be able to get help through the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme.
You can also ask your referring health service, or the hospital's pre-admission team, about what support might be available to you. Royal Adelaide Hospital has online information and a rural liaison nurse. Flinders Medical Centre also has online information for country patients.
There are a range of options available for patient transport:
- The South Australia Ambulance Service offers fee-for-service emergency medical and non-urgent patient transport.
- MedSTAR emergency medical retrieval service is another service operated by South Australia Ambulance.
- The Royal Flying Doctor Service have emergency medical flights throughout South Australia.
If you are travelling with a seriously ill child, organisations such as Ronald McDonald House can help with accommodation.
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health
Aboriginal health workers are based in many health services and hospitals across South Australia. Aboriginal community-controlled health services also have many primary health care services to their communities across South Australia.
The Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Primary Health Care Service provides free and culturally sensitive services across Adelaide's northern and central regions.
Mental health and wellbeing
People living and working in rural and remote areas can sometimes experience greater pressures than those in regional and urban areas. If you live in a rural or remote area, it's important to be aware of the signs of loneliness and isolation.
If you need support, country mental health services are available in some areas. They also operate a 24-hour consultation and emergency triage service (call 13 14 65). The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provide a free service across South Australia. This is available to children and young people up to 18 years of age (16 years of age in some areas) as well as during pregnancy and after giving birth.
Emergency medical help
In a medical emergency, immediately dial triple zero (000), and ask for an ambulance.
Resources and support
Click the below links to find health services in rural and/or remote South Australia:
- South Australia Health services A-Z
- My Aged Care
- Carers SA
- Parentline — parent helpline
- parenting and child health centres
- women's health services
- men's health services
- treatment for alcohol and other drugs
- rural child safety
More information on a range of health conditions and services in South Australia include:
You can also call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222. A registered nurse is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available from 7 am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week (including public holidays).
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: July 2023