Telehealth here to stay in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Telehealth here to stay in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury

The Morrison Government is making telehealth a permanent feature of Australia’s health care system, in a move endorsed by the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury's primary healthcare provider.

Telehealth has been transformational to Australia’s universal health care and has played a critical role in ensuring the continuity of care for hundreds of thousands of Australian patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting the health of patients and health professionals.

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise, said telehealth offers greater flexibility for local patients and GPs.

“The Morrison Government understands that telehealth has become an in-demand service during the course of the pandemic, with over 553,600 telehealth services undertaken locally since March 2020,” Senator Payne said.

“While nothing beats face-to-face appointments, we know that telehealth has been a key support for Australians who face challenges when accessing in-person appointments.

“It is only through strong economic management that the Morrison Government is able to make key investments such as this in our health system.”

The federal government’s decision to make telehealth permeant has been welcomed by local health partitioners, including the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN), which  represents local GPs and health services.

Lizz Reay, CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, the provider of the NBMPHN, said that during the pandemic telehealth has become a vital tool for helping to manage patients with COVID-like symptoms, while keeping health professionals and other patients safe.

“As we move to living with, and managing COVID-19 in the community, it is important that GPs, allied health professionals and patients still have access to subsidised telehealth services to help prevent unnecessary exposure to COVID-19,” Ms Reay said.

“We have been advocating for some time for the extension of the telehealth measures put in place due to the pandemic and are pleased that the Government has listened to the calls from our health professionals.”

Since early March 2020, more than 86.3 million COVID-19 MBS telehealth services have been delivered to 16.1 million patients, with $4.4 billion in Medicare benefits paid. More than 89,000 providers have used telehealth services.