The federal government has expanded telehealth services to help doctors provide essential primary health services during the pandemic.

Stay on top of existing health conditions

April 30, 2020 BY

The federal government is asking people with chronic health problems to continue seeking regular health care during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chronic conditions contribute to 87 per cent of deaths in Australia.

They include conditions such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, back pain, asthma chronic obstructive pulmonary and mental health conditions.

The federal government recently expanded telehealth services, enabling general practitioners to continue providing essential primary health services.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said people with preexisting conditions should look to manage their health as they normally would.

“If you have a regular follow up appointment booked with your doctor, please contact your medical practice to see if this can be carried out using a telehealth consultation, (by telephone, or video call), or if you need to see your doctor for a face-to-face consultation.

“If you are taking regular medication for management of a chronic condition, it is essential that you continue to take your medication. If you run out of medication, please contact your doctor or your local pharmacy to arrange a repeat prescription.”

Mr Hunt also noted people can now have their medication delivered without extra charge.

“To further stop the spread of COVID-19 Australians can now have their PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) medicines delivered to their home from their community pharmacy of their choice through the Australian Government “COVID-19 Home Medicines Service.”

Victorian Liberal senator Sarah Henderson said it is similarly important people get their flu shots.

“April and May is the best time to get a flu vaccine and people should contact their doctor or community pharmacy to book an appointment.

“Many Australians including all Australians over 65 years of age, and children under the age of five, are eligible for a free flu vaccine through the National Immunisation Program (NIP).”

Ms Henderson also advised people not to delay being tested for any serious diseases.

“If you have regular blood tests as part of the management of your chronic health condition, please continue to have your blood tests done at your local general practice or local pathology collection centre.

Any screenings people would normally have, such as bowel cancer or breast cancer screenings, should also remain a priority.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has launched a nationwide campaign called Expert Advice Matters to ensure people remain vigilant about their general health during the pandemic.

Part of the campaign is a website that offers practical health advice.

To view the site head to expertadvicematters.com.au.