No restrictions on Telehealth consultations NOW
This petition made change with 25,547 supporters!
Dear Prime Minister
I am calling on you to immediately allow Medicare to pay for ALL Australians to have access to telephone/video consultations in response to the coronavirus.
No restrictions, no "special criteria" - just remove the face-to-face requirements.
According to medical experts, coronavirus will spread significantly in Australia. This infection spreads easily and causes significant symptoms in many. Elderly and those with chronic disease appear most at risk but younger and fitter patients will act as carriers.
Currently almost all doctor appointments only receive Medicare rebates if they are face-to-face. This means that patients have to physically see the doctor and sit in the waiting room amongst other ill patients. This increases the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Many of the things that people go to the doctor for can be managed without a face-to-face consultation. With a new and deadly infectious disease, anything that reduces contact with unwell people will reduce onward transmission. As the virus spreads, most of those infected will seek advice from their local GP and potentially expose other patients, their loved ones, doctors, nurses and medical administration staff, who then in turn go on and expose others.
Already, there are many patients with other respiratory infections; the symptoms of coronavirus are the same as many others. These patients should ALL remain at home and be assessed by telehealth. This will also reduce the rush on the covid screening clinics and public hospitals, helping them to focus on those who are most acutely ill.
It is simply safer for all non-infected patients to stay home and deal with their normal medical issues via telehealth, avoiding contact with potentially infected patients in clinics.
It is 2020, we have the technology, it will reduce infection rates and full telehealth is common place in many other countries around the world such as the UK. The two peak bodies for doctors (AMA, RACGP) are advocating on this matter and support the plan. The federal government’s current telehealth program is just too restrictive with special criteria that make it so ineffective its practically useless.
Now is time for the government to IMMEDIATELY allow rebates for telehealth without any restrictions for the health and safety of ALL Australians, by removing the face-to-face requirement.
Please Prime Minister, now is the time for speed and leadership.
I look forward to hearing your response.
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