COVID-19 – Australian border restrictions and conditions for doctors
Thank you for your continued commitment to support all Australian communities during this challenging time.
The current advice relating to travelling between Australia’s States and Territories is complex and ever-changing and we are working closely with our network of healthcare employers to provide you with the most up to date information.
1. Border restrictions
A number of Australian states and territories have closed their borders in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, however, health professionals are generally exempt from border restrictions.
Before you travel interstate for your next job, we recommend that you take with you as much information as possible to demonstrate your status as a doctor.
Your current ID
Your AHPRA card or a copy of your registration if you do not have access to the card
A printed copy of your Job Confirmation Letter with the hospital contact information
A copy of the Hospital Locum Contract
A printed copy of the self-quarantine exemption decision (TAS only)
State and Territory health boards and individual hospitals and practices are continually updating their policies. You may be subject to a risk assessment on arrival and in some cases may still be required to self-isolate.
2. Additional travel and self-isolation information by State:
Northern Territory NT will grant quarantine-free entry to only essential workers from other parts of the country. Along with the travel documentation recommendations listed above, you need to carry a letter from the medical practice or hospital supporting that you are required in the community.
Queensland Only three roads remain open into QLD with police checkpoints in place on the QLD-NSW border.
For more information about exemption in place for Medical Professionals, please click here.
South Australia SA Health staff members returning from interstate, and any Medical Practitioners travelling to SA to locum, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to work.
Exemptions to this may be granted by the Chief Executive of the Department for Health and Wellbeing, where an assessment has been undertaken by the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) and a recommendation made that the exemption is warranted to maintain a critical service for business continuity.
Tasmania All locum doctors due to travel to Tasmania must submit the “Individual Quarantine Exemption Application (Health Service)” application form. This must be submitted within a minimum of 24 hours of arrival or a maximum of 72 hours before arrival into Tasmania.
Applications submitted greater than 72 hours prior to arrival will be rejected, the form then needs to be re-completed and re-submitted within the 24-72-hour time frame.
Assessment of applications is on a case by case basis, taking into consideration where you have travelled over the past 14 days and where you have worked over the past 21 days. Consideration is also given to the role you have been recruited to, the essential nature of the role and the patient/client group you will see/treat. A Locum Medical Officer must not assume an exemption will be granted; therefore, they should not commence the journey to Tasmania without knowing the outcome of their application.
At this point in time, a Locum Medical Officer who arrives in Tasmania prior to an exemption being granted must complete the 14-day self-quarantine period or may return to mainland Australia.
At this point in time, if an exemption is granted the Locum Medical Officer will be able to commence at the work site as planned, however, please be aware:
Some restrictions may still be applied by the Chief Medical Officer, which may alter the way they are used to working. For example, a requirement to use PPE.
The exemption will only apply for the purposes of carrying out the health services identified in the application. If the Locum Medical Officer wishes (or is asked by the work unit) to do any additional or alternative services, they will need to reapply for an exemption for those new services.
When the Locum Medical Officer is not carrying out the approved work duties, they should uphold quarantine standards for 14 days from arrival in Tasmania including staying at their home base (hotel). They must not go into public places and only people who usually live with them should be in the home base (hotel).
Western Australia Some regions in WA will grant quarantine-free entry to essential workers from other parts of the country, however, each region may risk-assess interstate medical practitioners according to risk of prior COVID-19 exposure and certain clients might have their own requirements regardless of state/territory outlined border closures
If a doctor is high risk, the health service may determine that self-isolation for 14 days is required.
Risk assessment examples:
Work completed in the previous 4 weeks (Emergency Department - GP practice – patients homes)
Where you’ve come from (Metro NSW - Metro SA - Rural QLD)
Work to be completed in WACHS and vulnerability of patients/community (Indigenous community - non-indigenous community)
Duration of contract
Effective midnight 31st March, further restrictions on travel will be introduced whereby Western Australians are not permitted to travel outside their designated region, exemptions will apply for those travelling for work purposes.
If you have further questions about travelling as a doctor for work in Australia, please contact us.