From 1 July, patients will no longer need to have attended a given clinic within the past 12 months in order to book in for telehealth appointments relating to BBVs and sexual or reproductive health.
This change, announced as part of the Federal Budget in May, 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 have applied to most telehealth consults, require a patient to have attended the clinic where they are seeking services within the prior 12 months.
ASHM argued the restrictions 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.”