Northern Australia Primary Health Limited (NAPHL) has welcomed changes to GP telehealth that will ensure North Queensland patients receive localised care.

The changes announced by the Australian Federal Government will mean that from July 20, telehealth GP providers will be required to have an existing and continuous relationship with a telehealth patient.

The changes apply to Medicare-subsidised telehealth services.

The move comes on the back of a GP forum hosted by NAPHL with Herbert MP Phillip Thompson OAM and Principal Medical Advisor to the Department of Health Prof Michael Kidd AM.

During the forum, GPs from Northern Queensland expressed concerns GPs from southern call centre clinics not familiar with tropical health concerns such as Dengue fever, were seeing patients that would usually go to their local doctor.

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NAPHL chairman and Townsville GP Michael Clements (pictured) said it was important that Northern Queensland patients see local GPs who are familiar with the unique health challenges faced in the north to ensure they receive the best possible care. 

“GPs in Townsville have welcomed the changes to Telehealth criteria as advocated for by Phillip Thompson and GP advocacy groups,” Dr Clements said.

“Patient care is best provided by GPs who know them and know their community and we thank Phillip for his support and advocacy in this matter.”

NAPHL is a member-based organisation primary made up of GPs that delivers mental health and allied health services throughout the Northern Queensland region.