Telehealth: The pros and cons for regional communities

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In March this year, the Federal government announced a range of Medicare subsidies for telehealth services in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The subsidies cover general practitioners, nursing, midwifery, allied health and allied mental health services, among others.

These subsidies were due to expire on September 30, but last week the government announced the scheme would be extended for another six months, until March 31 next year.

For regional and rural communities in particular, telehealth has also improved access to health care, reducing the need to travel long distances. Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have seen the benefits of telehealth.

However despite growing support, some experts argue that it’s important to ensure that regional communities still have access to face-to-face services, and that local GPs are not undermined by telehealth companies.

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