Submission from Consumers Health Forum on the expansion of Telehealth Services, to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)
The objective of this audit is to assess whether the Department of Health has effectively managed the expansion of telehealth services during and post the COVID‐19 pandemic.
The ANAO proposes to examine:
- Was the expansion informed by robust planning and policy advice?
- Was the expansion supported by sound implementation arrangements?
- Has monitoring and evaluation of the expansion led to improvements?
For more on this audit read here;
While health care services are designed to offer consistent access and delivery for everyone, the system’s design frequently fails to acknowledge the various socio-economic, regional, and cultural barriers that hinder equitable access to care. This inconsistency is illustrated by the significant disparities in health outcomes and overall health of across the population.
The overriding impression is that telehealth was designed as a measure aimed at ensuring access to healthcare for all consumers. Recent changes, however, seem to treat Australians as a homogenous population - which it is not, particularly in terms of equity in access to healthcare. The recent changes and elimination of a raft of telehealth MBS items appear to reflect an abandonment of the initial driving principle that represented a focus on, and concern for the health of all Australians.