The Australian Labor Party’s candidate for the seat of Page Patrick Deegan believes an Anthony Albanese Government will restore affordable telehealth psychiatric consultations for people living in Northern NSW, reversing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Medicare cut.
“In December 2021, the Morrison-Joyce Government ended the ability for Australians in rural and regional areas to access bulk billed psychiatry consultations through telehealth,” he said.
“This cut has seriously curtailed the access of people in regional Australia to vital mental health services, and came at the height of the Omicron wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in significant gap fees for psychiatric consultations delivered through videoconferencing.
“It has also seen some psychiatrists withdrawing these services altogether.”
Mr Deegan said Labor will restore a 50 percent regional loading to telehealth psychiatric consultations, allowing Northern NSW communities to once again be able to have affordable bulk billed telehealth mental health consultations.
“Recently, I met with a local couple from the Grafton region who have both been accessing psychiatric support from a specialist in Sydney via telehealth services,” he said.
“The Morrison-Joyce Government’s cut means that one of them will have to forego sessions with the psychiatrist due to the increased cost.
“As they told me, it’s hard to repair a broken mind without professional help.”
Mr Deegan revealed Labor’s policy will help the couple to get the support they need, along with other residents with diagnosed conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression anxiety and PTSD.
“Labor built Medicare, and only an Albanese Labor Government will strengthen Medicare, by making it easier to see a doctor,” he said.