ASHM welcomes Federal Budget announcement to remove telehealth restrictions


Announced yesterday as part of the Federal Budget, ASHM is very happy to see that telehealth consults will become more accessible for people seeking sexual and reproductive health services.


This announcement follows almost a year of advocacy by ASHM to the Federal Government, alongside our partners in the sexual and reproductive health sectors, for the removal of telehealth restrictions introduced in July last year. These restrictions, which currently apply to most telehealth consults, require a patient to have attended the clinic where they are seeking services within the prior 12 months.


In collaboration with our sector partners, ASHM has led a campaign to advocate for the removal of the 12-month restriction, arguing they disproportionately affected people seeking sexual and reproductive health services. These services include testing and treatment for blood-borne viruses and STIs, and access to contraception and abortion service.


“It is fantastic to see the Federal Government prioritise the sexual and reproductive health of vulnerable Australians as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The rollback of these restrictions means vulnerable patients can more easily access these vital services,” said ASHM CEO Alexis Apostolellis.


“Many patients don’t contact their regular GP for sexual or reproductive health services due to privacy concerns or stigma, or because their regular GP may not provide those services. This has been a particular concern for patients in rural and remote areas, where fewer medical services can mean privacy is much harder to maintain.”


There has been no word yet from the Federal Government about when the restrictions will be removed, but ASHM will continue to update our members about any changes.