Telehealth must be start of health ‘revolution’

The Federal Budget provides for the beginnings of a “revolution” in health care that should be a down payment for wider reforms and investment to meet 21st century needs, the Consumers Health Forum says.

“The Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has described the expansion of telehealth as a ‘revolution in the delivery of primary care’ which we strongly support,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the strength, and the opportunities for more public investments to improve Australia’s health system.

“It has shown the link between the health of the community and of the economy is inextricable.

“Telehealth has been stimulated by the pandemic to trigger easier and safe access to doctors and we look forward to further developments after the six month extension to March 2021 expires.

The telehealth disruption shows that transformative change is possible in healthcare and we hold great ambition for the scope of services that will be possible under the 10 Year Primary Health Care Plan currently in development.

“But the pandemic has also shown up the dramatic failings of the aged care system that has brought too many avoidable deaths and too much suffering.

“The lesson for Australia should be that we need to invest much more in a publicly-funded and effectively regulated system.

“The Government says it is making a record investment in health over four years of $467 billion, up by $32 billion on last year’s figures.

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