Positive step forward for GP telehealth
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson has welcomed the announcement that telehealth GP providers will be required to have an existing and continuous relationship with a patient in order to provide telehealth services.
Mr Thompson said this new requirement for Medicare-subsidised telehealth services was a key outcome that Townsville doctors who took part in last month’s GP forum had been advocating for.
“It’s very clear that the vast majority of Townsville GPs have embraced telehealth and the opportunities for improved primary healthcare it provides for our community,” Mr Thompson said, “but we need to make sure that we aren’t seeing call-centre clinics being set up outside our region.
“The last thing I want to see is doctors outside Townsville looking after Townsville patients.
“After listening to this feedback as part of our GP forum I raised it with Health Minister Greg Hunt who has implemented the requirement from July 20.
“By requiring telehealth appointments to be with a patient’s normal GP, doctors will know the patients as well as their medical history and needs, which can only lead to better outcomes for the people of Townsville.”
The change follows recommendations from the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and other medical experts.
The Health Minister has said telehealth had been enthusiastically accepted by doctors and patients alike and had indicated he hoped telehealth would be a positive long-term legacy of the COVID-19 crisis.
“I am a big advocate for telehealth and I will certainly be pushing for it to continue into the future,” Mr Thompson said.