Labor has consistently called for the Medicare Benefits Schedule to extend to telehealth services delivered by all health providers and all patients during the COVID-19 health emergency.
 
We very much welcome the Minister’s announcement that the Government will do this, and acknowledge the Minister’s work.
 
We have also called  for telehealth items to be extended to all practitioners working from home, and we hope this will be reflected when the detailed announcement of the stage four telehealth expansion is made.
 
We understand that this must be developed with peak bodies and health professionals. And we understand some patients will still require appointments in person.
 
But we should not allow this necessary consultation to delay what is a sensible, indeed urgent measure. 
 
The faster we can act to discourage the spread of this disease, the safer we are keeping Australians.
 
We must be encouraging and incentivising anyone who is able to have their physical and mental health issues to be treated remotely and immediately to do so. This will alleviate pressure on our healthcare system.
 
We should be keeping our health professionals safe and we should help them work from home if they can. We should be keeping our vulnerable populations safe.