A community with the greatest need, but a lack of services would benefit greatly from a long-term commitment to telehealth.
This was according to representatives of the Our Community Our Care project, examining the needs of people living in Launceston's Northern Suburbs and the barriers preventing them from accessing health care.
Coronavirus: All the latest updates on COVID-19 for Tasmania
A joint venture between the Northern Suburbs Community Centre, Ravenswood Starting Point Neighbourhood House, with research from the University of Tasmania, wellbeing project officer Fakington Wilde said access to affordable healthcare remained a key issue in the community.
"There is no bulk billing at all around the Northern Suburbs. You have to go to Kings Meadows, or even further," he said.
"All of a sudden when COVID came in, you suddenly didn't have to leave your house.
"Treatments get bulk billed automatically and pharmacies can deliver - it's such a good system.
"I'm not saying it fixes everything, but a whole lot of things we've always been told just aren't possible, suddenly became possible."
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There have been renewed calls to make COVID-19 telehealth reforms a permanent feature of the national health system.
The service allows patients to engage in virtual consultations carried out over the phone or via video.
Previously only vulnerable Australians, including seniors and those with compromised immune systems, were eligible for bulk-billed telehealth services.
In March an expanded range of Medicare-funded services were made available to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
However, the expanded funding arrangements are due to expire in September.
Mr Wilde's concerns were echoed by Mowbray Medical Centre practice manager Jo Bean.
On Wednesday Ms Bean shared her views with representatives from the federal Health Department, as part of a meeting facilitated by Bass MHR Bridget Archer.
Ms Bean said over the past two months the practice had been able to offer all of its patients fully bulk billed services, for the first time.
"We will currently bulk bill all of our patients as we felt we needed to offer this to stay in touch during the current COVID crisis," she said.
"But if and when this crisis ends, we will be entering another ongoing crisis here as we will need to take away the full bulk billing option and ask patients again to have to pay.
"This is something they really struggle with, they just can't afford it.
"It also means they can afford to come back ... which is a real shame for people's health."
Ms Archer said she would support any plan to continue telehealth services long-term.
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