Reverse funding cuts. Let rural, elderly and Indigenous patients see telehealth specialist

Reverse funding cuts. Let rural, elderly and Indigenous patients see telehealth specialist

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sophie suelzle started this petition to Sophie Suelzle (Head of comunications)

The federal government’s changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule at the start of this year has left thousands of vulnerable patients in rural and regional areas, aged care and Indigenous communities unable to afford specialist telehealth.

Doctors are critical of the Department of Health’s decision to defund specialist telehealth as it will compromise a large number of vulnerable patients, especially residential aged care patients with accessibility issues and remote patients with cancer and chronic illness.

Many patients in under-served communities simply do not have the means to travel to see a specialist, and are unable to afford specialist care without government support.

The termination of the MBS rural telehealth loading numbers effectively removed more than $75 million of funding to rural patients annually. These changes run counter to the federal government's narrative that it is investing in permanent telehealth for all Australians, and in particular, its promise to deliver better health services in regional and rural Australia.

We’ve already received feedback from a number of regional clinics whose patients now face the difficult decision of either waiting for 18-24 months to see a specialist through public hospital wait-lists, or not seeing a specialist at all. 

This substantial delay in diagnosis and treatment will lead to an increase in the already high disease burden rate in underserved areas, placing greater pressure on Australia's healthcare systems as a whole. 

The recent floods in rural areas have made visiting a clinic or hospital even more difficult, not only because of physical barriers due to environmental damage but the rising patient numbers and wait times due to injuries caused by the flooding. 

We’re calling on the government to urgently re-fund specialist telehealth to avoid potentially disastrous clinical outcomes for rural and regional Australians.

At a time when the government should be focusing on bringing the healthcare system closer to the people, the government is stripping away access to specialist healthcare. Please sign and share the petition to urge the government to reverse this decision.


This petition is started by Sophie Suelzle from Telecare, a health tech startup working to establish accessible and affordable allied health care for all Australians

0 have signed. Let’s get to 50,000!
At 50,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!