Current Rural Responder Networks

To date, South Australia remains the only Australian state to have a framework that formalises the role of appropriately trained rural clinicians in pre-hospital emergencies or disaster responses

The SA Rural Emergency Responder Network (RERN) was established over 15 years ago in response to Coroner recommendations regarding trauma care in rural South Australia. The network comprises rural doctors who have undergone training in pre-hospital care and are equipped with a Sandpiper Bag.  

Sandpiper Australia’s purpose is to advocate for other states across Australia to adopt similar formal Rural Emergency Responder Networks. Having a network of trained and equipped clinicians embedded in rural communities offers two main advantages: 

  1. To ensure rural patients with time critical needs can receive appropriate care in locations where either ambulance responders have treatment ceilings (volunteers/paramedic crew) or when specialist retrieval teams will take time to arrive (such as occurs in most of rural & remote Australia)
  2. To allow a ready-made network to flex up in times of larger incidents, such as bushfire, flood, cyclone, earthquake etc. The rural clinician will have expertise, not just in emergency care during the immediate phase of a disaster, but also in local resource capability and infrastructure to assist in disaster preparedness, response and recovery phases.
Dr T. Leeuwenburg featuring RERN equipment pre-Sandpiper Bags

Further information on the SA RERN program can be found here.

An analysis of the RERN was published in the Medical Journal of Australia, titled ‘Emergency care “out there”: lessons from the RERN’ and can be accessed here.