Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

South Australia rural and remote health services

5-minute read

Planning ahead

From the Great Australian Bight to the Nullarbor Plain, living and travelling in rural and remote South Australia (SA) offers unique experiences. To maintain good health, and ensure you will have access to health services when needed, it is important to plan ahead and know what is available.

A snapshot of South Australia

SA borders every state of mainland Australia and large areas are rural and remote. However, only about 1 in 5 residents live outside the greater Adelaide metropolitan area.

The state's economy is dominated by the agricultural, manufacturing and mining industries.

What types of health services are available?

Hospitals and health services in country SA offer a range of services. The Country Referral Unit can help you find services — call 1800 003 307.

GP Plus Health Care Centres in Ceduna and Port Pirie provide integrated health services, including doctor, allied health, dental health, mental health, home and community care, midwifery and community health services. Multi-purpose services provide integrated health and aged care services in some communities.

Some agencies provide outreach specialist services, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service operates doctor and nurse clinics.

For out-of-hospital emergencies, the Rural Emergency Responders Network is a network of specially trained rural doctors.


The SA Digital Telehealth Network uses video and audio technology to connect with specialists and major hospitals and can therefore reduce the need for travel.

Technology is used to keep a secure online record of health information, which can benefit people living in rural and remote areas. My Health Record helps improve communication with and between your doctor, health services, specialists and hospitals.

Health advice online and over the phone

Online health information can be really helpful, but it's important to use reputable sources. Look for a site with HON (Health On the Net) Foundation certification.

You can also speak to a registered nurse over the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

Mental health and wellbeing

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 (13 14 65).

Young people living in country SA can access youth mental health services in many locations.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Aboriginal health workers are based in many regional health services and hospitals, and there are also Aboriginal community-controlled health services.

Royal Adelaide Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre have Aboriginal health units that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, their escorts and families.

Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Primary Health Care Service provides free and comprehensive culturally sensitive services across Adelaide’s northern and central regions.

Travelling to medical and health services

If you need to travel long distances to receive medical and health services, you might be eligible for support 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. Royal Adelaide Hospital has online information and a rural liaison nurse. Flinders Medical Centre also has online information for country patients.

Fee-for-service emergency medical and non-urgent patient transport is available through the SA Ambulance Service. SA Ambulance also operates the MedSTAR emergency medical retrieval service, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service provides emergency flights in some parts of remote and rural SA.

If you are travelling with a seriously ill child, organisations such as Ronald McDonald House can help with accommodation.

After hours and emergency medical assistance

  • In a medical emergency, immediately dial triple zero (000).
  • For non-emergency health advice and information, you can call healthdirect to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day on 1800 022 222.

To find health services in South Australia

Further information

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2021

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Maternity services in rural South Australia

Find out what maternity services are available in rural or remote South Australia

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Regional Health Services | SA Health

Local hospitals and health services form a network delivering high quality health care across country South Australia.

Read more on SA Health website

Rural Emergency Responders Network (RERN) | SA Health

RERN is a network of specially trained South Australian rural GPs that attend out-of-hospital emergencies in partnership with the SA Ambulance Service and MedSTAR

Read more on SA Health website

PATS | SA Health

PATS provides some reimbursement to country patients and approved escorts for travel and accommodation costs.

Read more on SA Health website

Mental Health Services | SA Health

Mental health services in South Australia. A directory of where to get mental health help: crisis, counselling, support, advocacy and complaint services.

Read more on SA Health website

Mental health in rural and remote Australia

The reported prevalence of mental illness in rural and remote Australia appears similar to that of major cities.

Read more on National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) website

Royal Flying Doctor Service Central Operations - South Australia and Northern Territory | Royal Flying Doctor Service

At the Royal Flying Doctor Service Central Operations, we airlift 18 South Australians and 8 Territorians every day. Learn more about our service

Read more on Royal Flying Doctor Service website

Stop The Spread | SA Health

Links to useful information for the 2020 Stop The Spread campaign. Includes links for the community and health professionals.

Read more on SA Health website

Hand Hygiene | SA Health

Hand hygiene refers to any method which effectively removes soil and any harmful germs.

Read more on SA Health website

Infectious diseases | SA Health

Infectious diseases in children and adults - description, treatment, prevention, symptoms, notification and control in South Australia

Read more on SA Health website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.