Millions of Australians will continue to receive medical care and support in their own homes with the Morrison Government investing more than $2 billion to extend a range of COVID-19 health measures for a further six months, to 31 March 2021, says Member for Barker Tony Pasin.
Medicare-subsidised telehealth and pathology services, GP-led respiratory clinics, home medicines delivery, public and private hospital services will all be extended, as well as further investments in PPE.
These health initiatives play a major role in detecting, preventing and treating COVID-19, but also ensure Australians can maintain their regular health checks while upholding necessary isolation or social distancing.
The $2 billion extension in funding brought the Government’s commitment for the COVID-19 health response to more than $16.5 billion since March 2020.
Importantly this also includes mental health services, delivered over the phone, by trained specialists and GPs.
“Our Governments response to the pandemic brought forward a 10 year plan on telehealth within 10 days,” Mr Pasin said.
“While this has been vital to protecting the health and wellbeing of Australians during the pandemic, it’s been a big win for rural and regional communities, particularly those living in cross border communities battling with border closures that made it difficult to access health care,” Mr Pasin said.
Under the expansion patients will continue to have access to Medicare-subsidised telehealth for general practitioner, nursing, midwifery, allied health and allied mental health services, where and when they need them.
Telehealth is also being extended for essential specialist services, such as consultant physician, geriatrician, and neurosurgery services. Bulk billing will continue to be available and regular billing practices will apply to all of these services.
Up to 150 GP-led respiratory clinics across the country, which complement state run fever clinics, will continue their pivotal role in testing. In Barker this includes clinics in Naracoorte, Murray Bridge and Angaston.
Patients will also continue to have access to bulk-billed COVID-19 tests under Medicare, with aged care residents and staff getting priority access to rapid testing.
Eligible people will continue to get free home delivery of essential medicines by their local pharmacist. The Home Medicines Service has already delivered more than one million medicines to patients’ homes at no additional cost to patients.
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