Home | Industry & Reform | New ‘paternalistic’ telehealth changes may be unconstitutional, warns expert
New 'paternalistic' telehealth changes may violate patients rights, according to Medicare expert Dr Margaret Faux. Picture: Supplied.

New ‘paternalistic’ telehealth changes may be unconstitutional, warns expert

A new voluntary patient registration scheme is set to come into effect in July as part of the government's primary care health plan.

Under the new reforms, all public health care patients in Australia will be required to register with a GP before they access telehealth services. 

The scheme, which has yet to pass the draft phase, has been heavily advocated for by peak primary healthcare bodies who say it will encourage greater continuity of care for patients.

One of Australia's leading medicare experts, Dr Margaret Faux, says the changes raise significant concerns over consumer rights and constitutional law.

“Doctors are free to set their fees to their services in this country, and they can not be conscripted or compelled to be a public servant and work for the government," she said.

“Under voluntary registration it appears that GP’s will retain their constitutional right to charge whatever fees they choose, but consumers will lose their reciprocal rights to choose their GPs if they want to access telehealth.

“There are constitutional issues around that because it is a type of practical compulsion."

Faux joined Nursing Review to chat about the new VPR scheme and what it means for medical practitioners and patients across Australia.

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