Telehealth, Doctors and Rural Hospitals
Across the Electorate, the issue of medical coverage is top of mind for most people. Good medical services for communities in Barwon is something that I pay particular attention to. Every week there is at least one town that has lost its Doctor. The solution that is often provided by the Health District is the use of Telehealth.
Telehealth services are a part of the make-up of rural medical services, but cannot be used as a replacement for face-to-face medical services, especially when a person needs to have a bone set, or a wound stitched.
I have been working with the Health Minister to ensure regional communities receive their fair share of funding, and have appropriate services available that meet the needs of our communities. Telehealth and digital health solutions are a part of this mix but should never be a replacement for face-to-face care.
There are many examples that I can draw on where people have been forced to drive hundreds of kilometres to have a dressing changed or a check up with a specialist. Arguably these things could be done by Telehealth but they're not being done.
We have many skilled nurses in our Hospitals that could sit alongside a person while they check in with their specialist, these nurses could complete simple procedures such as wound checks and dressing changes. This would save the need for a person to take a day (or more) off work and spending money on fuel, for a quick 15 minute appointment.
Alongside talking to the Health Minister I have met with a number of medical providers that are working across Barwon to supply Doctors. These meetings have been positive, and shown to me that there is a willingness for Doctors to work in our communities, we just need to ensure these Doctors are supported by the NSW Health system and the community when they arrive into town.
During the next sitting of Parliament I will be speaking about healthcare and Telehealth in our regional communities.