Enable all Australians in rural & remote locations to access GP's via video consultation.
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I live in a small town in the North West Wimmera region of Victoria with a population of around 500 people. Although we have a doctor in town, the service lacks the expertise that most city dwellers are used to from their GP's, forcing everyone to travel to the next nearest town (at least) to get more reasonable medical service. That is a minimum of 1 hour's drive.
I am a disability support pensioner, and when my condition is bad, I have to rely on others to drive me. Often at times like these, my pain is so bad, I really need home visits, but the local GP is out of the question. As things stand, city based GP's are not allowed to video conference consultations with rural patients - or indeed any patients. Video consultations are only permitted for specialists.
My situation will be magnified in other outback regions where medical services are not available at all. With the rollout of the NBN which my area now has, we were led to believe that one of the major benefits would be greater medical services. Mr Hunt, I think this should be one of the first major reforms to Medicare - the addition of GP Video Consultations to the home, chargeable to Medicare for rural based patients. This is especially important and necessary for pensioners of all sorts. GP Video Consultations are urgently required if people in the bush are to have access to the same choice in doctors that city dwellers currently enjoy.
It is essential to my life and well being that this change be enacted as I have a rare condition that few doctors know anything about, and I would like to continue being treated by my former city based doctor that diagnosed my condition. And there are other Australians living in remote locations whose lives may very well depend on video consultations being enacted with GP's. Please Minister Hunt - make this happen now!
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