Chief Medical Officer flags coronavirus telehealth expansion

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Professor Brendan Murphy told Senate Estimates the Government is ‘certainly looking at’ telehealth items for coronavirus cases and patients with chronic disease...

Associate Professor Mark Morgan, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care (REC–QC), told newsGP many clinics have already started to reorganise their patient flow and room allocations to manage people presenting with possible coronavirus.
 
But, he said public health authorities could make the process easier by providing clearer and more consistent information, along with appropriate remuneration and personal protective equipment.
 
‘GPs are [preparing] in the face of multiple sources of different information coming from public health departments, state medical officers and the Department of Health,’ he said.
 
‘One effective way to safely manage concerned but not very sick individuals is via telehealth consults. [But] this takes time and infrastructure, and poses some difficulties in effectively charging for the service. Similarly patients would like to have a Medicare rebate for the service.
 
‘There needs to be acknowledgment that clinics are required to be financially sustainable, to pay GPs, their staff and all the costs of running a practice. GPs are highly trained and generally willing to play their part in looking after a health crisis, but it cannot be at a substantial financial cost.
 
‘The sector has already been starved of resources for too long.’

 

Professor Morgan said the role of GPs in pandemic planning should be clear and outlined in advance to give the profession time to consider its implications.

Subject

Role of GPs in coronavirus

Period6 Mar 2020

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleChief Medical Officer flags coronavirus telehealth expansion
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletNews GP
    Media typeWeb
    CountryAustralia
    Date6/03/20
    DescriptionAssociate Professor Mark Morgan, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care (REC–QC), told newsGP many clinics have already started to reorganise their patient flow and room allocations to manage people presenting with possible coronavirus.

    But, he said public health authorities could make the process easier by providing clearer and more consistent information, along with appropriate remuneration and personal protective equipment.

    ‘GPs are [preparing] in the face of multiple sources of different information coming from public health departments, state medical officers and the Department of Health,’ he said.

    ‘One effective way to safely manage concerned but not very sick individuals is via telehealth consults. [But] this takes time and infrastructure, and poses some difficulties in effectively charging for the service. Similarly patients would like to have a Medicare rebate for the service.

    ‘There needs to be acknowledgment that clinics are required to be financially sustainable, to pay GPs, their staff and all the costs of running a practice. GPs are highly trained and generally willing to play their part in looking after a health crisis, but it cannot be at a substantial financial cost.

    ‘The sector has already been starved of resources for too long.’

    Professor Morgan said the role of GPs in pandemic planning should be clear and outlined in advance to give the profession time to consider its implications.
    Producer/AuthorMatt Woodley
    PersonsMark Morgan