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‘Huge step forward’ for Medicare as telehealth becomes permanent

Neil Mitchell
Article image for ‘Huge step forward’ for Medicare as telehealth becomes permanent

Telehealth will become a permanent feature of the nation’s Medicare system.

The service, which allows patients to have bulk-billed medical consultations online, was expanded at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

While announcing the change, Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed there have already been 40 million telehealth consultations across the country.

National President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Omar Korshid, says the change is “huge step forward”.

“Particularly for rural people and those who are not too mobile, the ability to get the doctor on the end of the phone and have a good consultation is a huge step forward,” he told Neil Mitchell.

But Dr Korshid stressed telehealth is not a replacement for face-to-face consults, it’s an additional feature.

“This is not going to replace normal medicine … it’s an extra bit,” he said.

“Instead of having to go in to the GP’s surgery for a routine discussion around a test result … or to organise a repeat prescription, you’ve got a mechanism to either use a telephone or even a video conference.”

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Neil Mitchell
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