Your general health during COVID-19 and accessing telehealth services
Anecdotally, we have heard that GP practices and other general healthcare places have seen – and talked to – fewer patients since the start of the pandemic. GPs and other health services are still here to help you with your non-COVID, as well as COVID-related, health issues.
It’s important that you stay connected with your doctor as needed. New arrangements mean you can contact your doctor remotely without having to visit in person.
All Australians are now able to access Medicare-funded GP and other primary health services remotely via videoconference or telephone to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. Many GPs and specialists are offering some of their services via ‘telehealth’ which means they are conducting their visits over the phone or via video conferencing applications. Simply call your doctor and GP clinic and ask if they offer telehealth services.
Some health matters, of course, can’t be fixed through telehealth and GPs and primary health services are also still open for face-to-face visits.
The NSW Government now strongly advises wearing face masks when visiting your healthcare providers for a face-to-face appointment. Here some information about face masks.
COVID-19 and face masks – Information for consumers – Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) – Expert advice matters campaign, FAQ: https://www.expertadvicematters.com.au/faq/
Australian Department of Health telehealth media release: COVID-19: Whole of population telehealth for patients, general practice, primary care and other medical services: https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/covid-19-whole-of-population-telehealth-for-patients-general-practice-primary-care-and-other-medical-services
COVID-19 Telehealth MBS items – complete list: http://www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/news-2020-03-29-latest-news-March
Telehealth fact sheets: http://www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/Factsheet-TempBB
Information sheet – Helping you get your medicine if you are confined to your home: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/helping-you-get-your-medicine-if-you-are-confined-to-your-home
NPS MedicineWise: Being medicinewise during COVID-19 information hub: https://www.nps.org.au/coronavirus
Elective surgery: Australian hospitals recommenced elective surgery, investigations and procedures on 27 April 2020, following a National Cabinet decision. The Australian Commission on Quality and Safety in Healthcare has developed these frequently asked questions to help consumers, patients and carers to understand what these changes mean for them in the COVID-19 environment: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/faqs-consumers-elective-surgery
Guidance on the introduction and use of video consultations during COVID-19: important lessons from qualitative research: https://bmjleader.bmj.com/content/early/2020/05/17/leader-2020-000262
We also ask you to tell us about your experience using telehealth. Let us know what has or hasn’t worked for you.