COVID Update - Phase 1 & 2 Emergency Directions

25 Oct 2021

AMA(SA) been asked more questions – from members, colleagues and the media – and provided with not so many answers about exactly when South Australians can expect borders to open, and members have expressed their concerns about the implications of the ‘Phase 1’ and ‘Phase 2’ Emergency Directions relating to mandatory vaccinations for staff in health settings.

While we have not yet seen a ‘roadmap’ for South Australia when borders open, AMA(SA) are pleased to report that we are more confident now that SA Health is moving steadily towards having plans in place so our health system isn’t overwhelmed when that happens. On Wednesday, AMA(SA) President Dr Michelle Atchison, and CEO Dr Samantha Mead met Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael Cusack, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick and SA Health’s Executive Director, Health Services Programs and Funding, Ms Helen Chalmers, again in what will be regular updates. They outlined what is in the pipeline to support the system and communities across the metropolitan area and in the regions. It seems that health advice will continue to be heeded in the political discussions about when and how to open borders to which states and territories. Unfortunately, the South Australia-specific Doherty modelling is not complete, so the roadmap or ‘vision’ we’re all anxiously seeking is not yet available.

In the meantime, we have noted the declaration of the ‘Phase 2’ Emergency Direction. As we explained in an e-newsletter on 18/10/2021, the ‘Phase 1’ Direction made it an offence for people to work in hospitals and similar settings unless they can provide proof of a first vaccination, and booking for a second, by 1 November. The ‘Phase 2’ Direction, which came into effect on Wednesday afternoon (20 October), extends the obligation to workers in all health settings in the state, with a deadline for the first vaccination of 8 November.

As mentioned previously, we do understand that these Directions have significant legal and HR repercussions for our members and their staff. We are seeking as much information as we can about the rights and responsibilities of employers and managers in these health settings. In the meantime, please continue encouraging staff to be vaccinated, for their own health and that of their loved ones – and to contribute to the system’s capacity to safely open borders as soon as possible.

Published: 25 Oct 2021