The Albanese Government has decided to cut more than 70 telehealth services in Barker, despite surging case numbers and rising cost-of-living pressures.
The change has meant vulnerable Australians have been unable to access important COVID-related telehealth items, including phone consultations over 20 minutes, since 1 July 2022.
In doing so, Labor has gone against the advice of key stakeholders and experts, including the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Member for Barker Tony Pasin, called on the government to explain why these items have been cut at a time when many Australians need telehealth more than ever.
“Labor have said we’re facing a ‘winter wave’ of COVID-19, yet they’re pulling the rug out from under vulnerable Australians who need access to telehealth consultations over the phone,” Mr Pasin said.
“Since March 2020, Telehealth service have been life changing for many in need of support.”
“Telehealth has enabled Australians to see their GP, renew scripts and seek mental health support, all from the safety of their own home. This means that many vulnerable Australians in our community will be left without a safe way to access medical consultations during a worsening pandemic.”
“By withdrawing access to these telehealth items, Labor is undermining GPs’ ability to provide medical advice on complex health needs for COVID-positive patients.”
“This decision comes on top of the Albanese Government’s decision to end free Rapid Antigen Tests for concession card holders and their delayed backflip on cutting the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.”
“Mr. Albanese promised to leave no one behind. Now is not the time to be making it harder for people to access essential health services at home.” Mr Pasin said.
For more information about telehealth, visit https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/health-technologies-and-digital-health/about/telehealth.