NSW Region patient exemptions – what you need to know

Due to the rapidly changing situation in the ACT and the public health directions in place in NSW and the ACT, we’ve had to make some changes to the way we deliver health services in the ACT. Our patients are our priority, and all the measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of everyone in our community - in the ACT, part of the Murrumbidgee local health district, and in Southern NSW local health district.

Due to the rapidly changing situation in the ACT and the public health directions in place in NSW and the ACT, we’ve had to make some changes to the way we deliver health services in the ACT.

Our patients are our priority, and all the measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of everyone in our community - in the ACT, part of the Murrumbidgee local health district, and in Southern NSW local health district.

We know this is difficult and we appreciate your patience and compliance with what’s required while we re-arrange our critical health care services. We are constantly reviewing these arrangements and will keep our local and regional communities informed.

If you need urgent care

All patients who need urgent or critical care whether in the ACT or surrounding NSW regions will receive this care.

All patients who need surgery or an appointment in an ACT health facility are being contacted about arrangements for them. Note: only urgent or essential appointments are progressing at this stage.

If your appointment can be done through telehealth, this will be arranged as the first option.

If you need to attend in person you will be contacted and asked four COVID-19 screening questions.

This screening process is standard for all patients to all health services across the ACT and it will determine if your appointment or scheduled surgery can proceed and if so, an Exemption order and supporting letter will be sent to you.

This Exemption order will allow a patient to enter the ACT and the relevant ACT health facility, and that facility will have a list of the names and dates patients are due to arrive for their health care treatment.

You will not be required to complete an online exemption form if you live in the Southern NSW Health District or the following Murrumbidgee Local Government Areas:

  • Cootamundra-Gundagai
  • Hilltops
  • Junee Shire
  • Snowy Valleys
  • Wagga Wagga.

What happens if I say ‘yes’ to any of the screening questions

If you answer ‘YES’ to any of the four questions your situation will be considered by the relevant manager at the health facility, and you will be notified about what will happen next.

What are the screening questions?

  • We need to know that either on or since 12:01am (AEST) Monday 21 June, have you been in the:
    • Greater Sydney
    • Blue Mountains
    • Central Coast
    • Shellharbour or
    • Wollongong areas
  • Have you been in regional NSW on or after the time indicated on the ACT’s COVID-19 website for Areas of Concern. Please note that different regions are listed as COVID-19 Affected Areas at different days and times.
  • Have you attended a casual or close contact exposure location listed on the ACT’s Areas of Concern Notice? Please ensure you read the list carefully and check all states and territories (including the ACT) that you have been to.
  • Have you been notified by the respective state or territory health department that you are a close contact/casual contact/secondary contact i.e. in a household of casual or close contact person?

Can I bring a support person with me?

For patients who need a carer or an authorised driver to support their attendance at an appointment or to receive health treatment, an exemption will be granted for that carer as well. However, it can only be one carer.

If the carer or authorised driver needs to spend more than one day in the ACT while the patient is having treatment, then they must quarantine in an approved hotel. A list of approved hotels are attached to the standing exemption.

For parents or guardians supporting a person under 18, an exemption will be granted. However, it can only be for one person.

Speak with the health facility managing your appointment if you are not sure so that all appropriate considerations and exemption arrangements can be put in place to make your travels and time here easier.

Remember, the best situation is for everyone at the moment to stay home wherever possible. However, we do understand that during these difficult times for people enduring health treatments, a support person or carer is really important.

Your carer or support person will not be required to complete an online exemption form.

Can I cancel an appointment?

Yes, you can. We understand some people may not be comfortable visiting a health facility. If anyone wishes to cancel their non-essential outpatient appointment with us, we encourage them to use our online form, at: https://www.health.act.gov.au/cancellationform

I want to visit a patient on compassionate grounds – what do I need to do?

You will need to complete an online public health exemption form each time you want to re-enter the ACT. You can apply for an exemption for a seven day period, but you need to specify this when you apply for an exemption.

If you need to stay in the ACT for more than one night, a ‘Quarantine Certificate’ may be issued to you which will provide you with an exemption to visit the relevant health facility. It will apply for the period of your approved stay in the ACT.

Any other questions?

If you have any further questions, please direct these to your health facility in the first instance.

For Canberra Health Services, email: CHS.centraloperationsunit@act.gov.au

The online exemption form can be found on the ACT Government’s COVID-19 website.

Page last updated on: 2 Sep 2021