Australian College of Nursing welcomes Telehealth expansion and advocates for permanent funding

The Australian College of Nursing welcomes the Australian Government’s expansion of Medicare rebates for telehealth consultations until 31 March 2021 and is calling for Medicare-subsidised telehealth to continue beyond the pandemic.

“Medicare-subsidised telehealth has greatly improved flexibility for healthcare consumers enabling better access to care. Telehealth consultations are particularly important in rural and remote areas where accessing health professionals is limited,” the Australian College of Nursing, Chief Executive Office Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.

However, Medicare- subsidised telehealth should remain an important part of the service mix, particularly for healthcare consumers known to their healthcare provider and people who may have difficulty leaving the home due to a disability, those with mental health issues or people who live a long way from health services.

With access to telehealth, nurses have been able to continue working with their healthcare consumers in a safe environment and it has been critical in maintaining routine healthcare during COVID-19.

These services are flexible, convenient and give the healthcare consumer choice. The challenges presented by the pandemic has given the Australian Government the impetus to work with all healthcare professionals to redesign models of care and payments methods in the primary health care sector to include virtual healthcare and deliver on the recommendations of the National Preventative Health Strategy.”

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