AGPA Calls for Extension of Telehealth
The Australian GP Alliance (AGPA) congratulates the Government on its decision to introduce Telehealth consultations for some Australians from various GPs and other Health Providers.
The system though innovative is too complex and too restrictive reducing their use and availability to ALL Australians.
All high risk groups must be supported to reduce their exposure to COVID-19 by reducing time in waiting rooms, and public areas with potential exposure to COVID-19 is welcomed. This must option must be there across the country and the community and open to ALL GPs to maximise access to health care in these trying times.
AGPA notes that the ability to consult via Telehealth is limited to a Doctor who has held a consultation with the person in the last 12 months. Wrong- this is too restrictive and unhelpful.
If significant numbers of Doctors are unable to attend their practices because of COVID-19 self-isolation, then the benefit of this innovation will be eroded.
We acknowledge the need to audit services but that should detract from legitimate use of clinical services by All Australians which will be best practice innovative and progresses Universal Health Care.
Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, Director, AGPA stated: “We urge the Government extend this significant initiative beyond “at risk patients” and change the telehealth rules to allow any Doctor from the same practice to carry out the Telehealth consultation”.
AGPA also considers it is essential that health workers are protected from exposure to COVID-19.
To ensure that the primary health care system keeps running for all health care requirements, GPs need to be able to consult with all patients remotely.
“We urgently need to extend Telehealth consultations to all people in Australia if we are to keep Patients and their GPs safe and consult remotely to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
All clinically necessary Telehealth consultations,including those billed privately, should be eligible for an MBS rebate. Contemporaneous recording of consultations needs to continue.”
“To further protect GPs, Pharmacists all primary health care workers and patients further, an effective electronic prescribing system should be fast-tracked” Dr Haikerwal said.
The AGPA urges all General Practices to develop Telehealth capability as matter of urgency.
For further comment please contact: Dr Mukesh Haikerwal - 0407 599 332.
Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AC