Emerald family doctor Dr Ewen McPhee said the Federal Government’s medical package would help deliver effective and high-quality medical services to the bush.
Emerald family doctor Dr Ewen McPhee said the Federal Government’s medical package would help deliver effective and high-quality medical services to the bush.

Digital doctors to stop the spread of coronavirus

RURAL doctors have been handed a multimillion-dollar prescription to expand telehealth services and bulk-billing incentives to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Today the Federal Government announced the medical package which included the rollout of Medicare subsidised telehealth services, a doubling of the bulk-billing incentive for general practitioners, and significant additional funding for mental health support and domestic violence supports.

The emergency aid has been welcomed across the medical field, with the Australian Medical Association, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia signing off on the package.

Emerald family doctor and ACRRM president Dr Ewen McPhee said the reforms would help deliver effective and high-quality medical services to the bush.

“This is a great step forward,” Dr McPhee says, “and demonstrates the government is listening to rural and remote practitioners.”

“ACRRM has been advocating for this type of access for rural and remote patients for many years,” Dr McPhee said.

Even in the era of social distancing, Dr McPhee said the need to support face-to-face consultations was crucial.

“A whole range of people are delaying their care for other medical conditions because of social distancing – they don’t want to put a burden on the health system with non-Covid related issues, but general practices and hospitals each play crucial roles in responding to this crisis,” he said.

Australian Medical Association Dr Tony Bartone said medical centres were facing their own financial crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Gary Ramage
Australian Medical Association Dr Tony Bartone said medical centres were facing their own financial crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Gary Ramage

The reforms were a crucial lifeline as frontline medical practices as coronavirus threatens business disruption or closures, AMA president Dr Tony Bartone said.

“It’s essential for many doctors to still be at work to see patients. These frontline doctors need support, as do their family members who worry when they leave for work each morning,” Dr Bartone said.

“It may take some patients and doctors who are not familiar with telehealth some time to adjust, but the adjustment will be worthwhile.”

For the latest coronavirus news, click here


Bowen Basin mine worker hospitalised

premium_icon Bowen Basin mine worker hospitalised

A Hail Creek mine worker has been flown to hospital after suffering heart...

Workers protesting over safety fears at CQ mine

premium_icon Workers protesting over safety fears at CQ mine

‘Until they’re heard, workers will continue to protest outside the mine’

Slip lanes to be added to Botanic Gardens entrance

premium_icon Slip lanes to be added to Botanic Gardens entrance

The council said motorists and pedestrians should expect changed traffic conditions...