Feedback from Townsville GPs to help shape future direction
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson has thanked local General Practitioners for their feedback as part of last night’s virtual forum discussing local doctors’ response to COVID-19 and their needs moving forward.
Northern Australia Primary Health Limited chair Dr Michael Clements and Mr Thompson were joined by Professor Michael Kidd AM, Principal Medical Advisor to the Department of Health for the online discussion last night.
Mr Thompson said the forum – attended by around 50 local GPs – was an important opportunity to listen.
“One of the main take-aways from the question and answer session was how beneficial telehealth had been during the pandemic and how many doctors were keen to see that continue to be supported long-term,” he said.
“I’m a big advocate of telehealth but I don’t want to see ‘call-centre superclinics’ set up outside Townsville seeing Townsville patients.
“They need to be local doctors looking after locals so that the personal relationship and patient history can be taken into consideration and the right follow-up care can be provided.”
The availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) was highlighted as an area for improvement into the future.
“There was an incredible amount of demand for gloves, gowns and masks here in Townsville and around the country,” Mr Thompson said.
“While none of us saw this pandemic coming it was an important lesson that we need to have a bigger stockpile of supplies on hand to cover a worst-case scenario.
“Fortunately the feedback was that things have stabilised and there’s now a ready supply of PPE available to local practices that need it.”
Mr Thompson thanked Professor Michael Kidd for his valuable input to the forum.
“Professor Kidd has been one of the Health Ministers’ closest advisers during this pandemic and is a wealth of knowledge,” he said.
“In fact some of the GPs on the line were former students of his and he also has relatives in Townsville, so it was a great to have that local connection.”
The Federal Government has made significant investments in general practice during the coronavirus pandemic including the establishment of the Townsville Respiratory Clinic for COVID-19 testing and treatment as well as $669 million to expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services.