South Australian COVID-19 restrictions and access to allied health services

Published 19 November 2020, revised 20 November 2020

This week the South Australian Government introduced widespread social restrictions in response to a coronavirus cluster. A Stay At Home Direction for all of South Australia was implemented from 12:01am Thursday, 19 November 2020.

Based on new contact tracing information, the South Australian Government has revised these COVID-19 restrictions. The Stay At Home Direction will be lifted from 12:01am on Sunday, 22 November and South Australian restrictions will be similar to those that were in place on Monday, 16 November 2020.

Until midnight Saturday 21 November

Under the Stay At Home Direction, people may leave home to receive essential healthcare services. Schedule 1 of this Direction defines essential health services and applies to allied health as follows:

  • allied health services provided by allied health professionals working as essential workers in hospitals providing critical clinical care or as directed by the hospital
  • allied health professionals providing mental health services in hospital
  • allied health services provided by allied health professionals working in private practice providing care through telehealth and other virtual care options
  • allied health professionals providing mental health services in community settings by telehealth or by face-to-face (but only in the instance of emergency clinical care for potentially life-threatening situations where telehealth is not clinically appropriate)
  • students (medical/nursing/midwifery/allied health) on placement providing essential care in hospitals or through telehealth

Routine face-to-face allied health services are not allowed, gyms are closed and gym-based group therapy and training sessions are cancelled.

Other advice received by AHPA:

  • Masks are required within aged care facilities.
  • Allied health professionals delivering services in aged care facilities are not being counted towards the ‘2 visitors per resident per day’ restriction.
  • Allied health professionals delivering services in aged care facilities are not limited to working at one site. However, there is the expectation they will advise any facility prior to entering and details of their visits to other facilities. It is important to maintain details of where and when services have been provided at aged care facilities to assist in tracking if needed.

Essential workers include health professionals providing essential health services. Essential workers are advised to carry ID or other evidence to prove their workplace/occupation. This could include but is not limited to a workplace ID or uniform.

From Sunday 22 November

Allied health providers can resume face-to-face services from Sunday 22 November.

  • Allied health services may be provided by applied health professionals or students, medical/nursing/midwifery/allied health on placement when working in providing critical clinical care, in residential care facilities or in private practice.
  • Mental health services may be provided in hospital emergency, at inpatient psychiatric services, by allied health professionals providing mental health services in hospital, private psychiatric practices or by allied health professionals in community settings with a preference of telehealth but face-to-face is permitted in the instance of emergency clinical care in life-threatening situations.

Providers must have a COVID Safe plan in place, maintain social distancing and appropriate infection control practices, and continue to use telehealth where possible.

AHPA continues to work with the South Australian Chief Allied and Scientific Health Officer to ensure our members and practitioners have the latest advice that applies to allied health.