Yesterday’s announcement by the Federal Government about a comprehensive $2.4 billion health package to protect all Australians from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is a welcome and timely response. It provides much needed Medicare bulk billing services for telehealth consultations with GPs and specialists, nurses and mental health allied health workers.

However primary care treatment by physiotherapists for at-risk groups should also be included.

APA National President Phil Calvert says that the APA fully supports the initiative, but has called for an extension of the telehealth component to include physiotherapy to ensure people with chronic and complex conditions continue to receive much needed treatment.  

“We know that coronavirus transmission rates are yet to peak in the community and we expect that there will be an increased need for self-isolation of both patients and health professionals.”

“We strongly urge the federal government to extend its telehealth package to physiotherapy so that we can continue to care for our communities wherever possible. This is especially important for vulnerable patients who need multi-disciplinary care, and who will need to self-isolate as a precautionary measure.”

“Our workforce is skilled in providing services via telehealth to people experiencing barriers to accessing health services. This has worked successfully for several years; we know that it is both safe and effective.”

“We are living in challenging times, and we need to pull out all stops to ensure the health system keeps going.  The extension of telehealth services makes sense – both because it allows us to keep caring for people, and because it lessens the risk of exposure.” 

 “We have great faith in the Australian health system and its ability to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are confident that by working together to minimise risk of exposure, and providing continuity of care, we will overcome the growing threat of COVID-19.”

-ENDS-

Phil Calvert is available for further comment.