Voluntary Blood Testing Program for PFAS

Community Information

From 17 March 2018, the Australian Government will provide free blood testing for Per- and Poly- fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). The free voluntary test will be offered to people who live or work, or who have lived or worked, in the RAAF Base Tindal Investigation area and who have potentially been exposed to PFAS.

Am I eligible for a PFAS blood test under the Voluntary Blood Testing Program?

The Australian Government will fund a single voluntary PFAS blood test for those people who live or work or have lived or worked, in the RAAF Base Tindal Investigation Area. This includes people currently living elsewhere who previously lived or worked at these places.

To obtain a free blood test under this program, you will be required to visit your GP and sign a Statutory Declaration to confirm your eligibility. This Statutory Declaration will confirm that you currently live or work, or have previously lived or worked in one of the Investigation Areas.

You must have a pre-test consultation with your GP before testing and a post-test consultation to discuss the results. This pre-test and post-test consultation will also be provided free to eligible people.

Free mental health sessions are available

Incidents such as those that have occurred in Katherine can trigger a wide variety of responses over time including anger, anxiety, fear, sadness and confusion. There is no wrong or right way to respond to things like this and all these responses are perfectly normal when faced with major life stressors. It is important to remember though, that prolonged exposure to stress and these types of feelings associated with it, can have a long-term negative affect on both your physical and mental health. We know that strong social connections and communities go a long way in supporting health and wellbeing in difficult times. When entire communities are affected by high levels of stress, individuals can feel isolated and unable to rely on their traditional supports due to not wanting to add to the stress of others. A combination of prolonged stress and isolation can result in a decline in your physical and mental health and wellbeing.

NT PHN has contracted service providers to provide free and confidential counselling and mental health services specifically to support the needs of current and past residents and community members of the affected Katherine area. Eligible clients can access mental health and  counselling sessions free of charge. See below under Resources for a list of contracted mental health service providers. If you now reside out of the investigation area, please contact NT PHN at PFAS@ntphn.org.au and we can identify a registered mental health provider in your preferred location.

These services are private and NT PHN does not collect any personal information regarding participants accessing these services other than basic unidentifiable, demographic data. Patients do not have to have had a blood test to access these free mental health sessions.

While we encourage eligible people to engage with their general practitioner (GP) in the referral process to this service, community members are free to self-refer directly to registered mental health providers. This service is available to anyone affected by the Katherine PFAS incident whether they currently live in the area or not.

NT PHN does not receive, collect or collate any data about patients or their PFAS test results as part of this program .

Resources

Expert Health Panel for PFAS Final Report
Available here: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-pfas-expert-panel.htm

Department of Health fact sheets
Available here: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-pfas-blood-testing.htm

PFAS contracted Mental Health Providers