Federal Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton has announced the NSW Nationals in the federal government will invest more than $2 billion to extend the COVID-19 emergency health response for a further six months, to the end of March next year.

This includes access to key health care services including Medicare-subsidised telehealth and pathology services, GP-led respiratory clinics, home medicines delivery, and public and private hospital services.

“These measures have played a critical role in detecting and containing the spread of COVID-19, but also ensuring regions have continued access to health care,” Mr Coulton said.

“Here in the Parkes electorate, we have GP-led respiratory clinics in Dubbo, Broken Hill, Cobar and Moree, with a mobile clinic servicing North West areas including Gunnedah, Narrabri, Boggabri and Wee Waa – providing services for people with all respiratory symptoms, reducing pressure on GPs and hospital emergency departments, and keeping health workers safe.

“The take-up of telehealth over the past six months has been extraordinary, with more than 30 million consultations allowing people to access their GP, practise nurse, midwife, or allied and mental health services during this time.

“Telehealth has also been extended for essential specialist services, to help people keep in touch with their consultant physician, geriatrician, and neurosurgery services.”