SA Health has assured community members that they will be seen and treated in case of an emergency, following concerns from the mayor about staffing at Naracoorte Hospital.
Speaking at Naracoorte Lucindale Council's November meeting, Mayor Erika Vickery said it was "extremely disappointing" to hear that Naracoorte Hospital would be without an emergency medical officer for "part of the next few weeks".
A spokesperson for SA Health said patients requiring emergency medical attention would be transferred to Mount Gambier emergency department (ED) if needed.
They said medical officers for the ED at Naracoorte Hospital were provided by Kincraig Medical Clinic and Naracoorte General Practice as part of an ongoing agreement and rosters were managed by the General Practices, including seeking locums to fill the roster if required.
"If roster gaps are identified, we attempt to fill the roster in order to support the community and minimise any lack of emergency medical officer on roster," the SA Health spokesperson said.
"We have arrangements in place to ensure ongoing emergency care to the community, including accessing the South Australian Virtual Emergency Service (SAVES) overnight and MedSTAR support if required.
"All patients presenting to the ED will continue to be assessed and triaged according to their clinical needs, and patients requiring emergency medical attention will be transferred to Mount Gambier Hospital ED.
"We would like to assure the community that health services at Naracoorte Hospital will continue to be provided and patients presenting to hospital will always be seen and treated by nursing staff."
Speaking at the council's November meeting, Councillor Vickery said she had accepted an invitation to attend the Limestone Coast Local Health Network and said she looked forward to "the opportunity to seek a strategic partnership with the local health sector which will strengthen our advocacy for health services in our area".
She told the Herald: "Council is wishing to work with Naracoorte Area Health Advisory Council Inc (NAHAC) and LCLHN to undertake the development of a strategic approach to develop a Health Sector Strategy where we engage with health sector and community to identify health infrastructure needs and health sector services priority actions for the Naracoorte Lucindale area.
"The Health Sector Strategy will enable Council to advocate for the health services and infrastructure needed to ensure that our district has high quality health services."