December 6, 2023

From the beginning of subsequent 12 months, you gained’t have the ability to get a Medicare-funded PCR check except you get a referral from a health care provider or a medical or nurse practitioner. The information was contained within the Nationwide Covid-19 Well being Administration Plan for 2023, which was launched at present by the federal well being minister, Mark Butler, to information Australia’s medical system because it continues to cope with Covid-19.

The 16-page doc contains numerous adjustments, together with outlining that Medicare-funded PCR checks will now be reserved for these most in danger, reminiscent of older Australians, First Nations individuals and other people with a incapacity, fairly than as a surveillance instrument. It’ll even be used to focus on eligible sufferers to get sooner entry to antiviral therapies. Entry to antivirals can be obtainable for individuals who document a constructive check by way of a RAT or PCR.

“Over 2023, Australia will transition to managing Covid-19 in an analogous approach to different respiratory viruses, transferring away from Covid exceptionalism and bespoke preparations,” the plan says. It provides, “There isn’t a public well being requirement or suggestion for low-risk people to hunt PCR testing.”

The chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, supplied recommendation within the doc, saying the pandemic continues to throw up challenges, and that we’re prone to see the emergence of recent variants and new waves “for not less than the following two years”.

“The Australian Authorities will proceed to answer these waves as they happen – with a selected deal with defending these most in danger in our neighborhood. The severity of future waves could also be milder, putting much less stress on the well being system. This, mixed with improved immunity and hybrid immunity from repeat infections and focused vaccinations, would cut back the medical influence and end in fewer Australians struggling extreme sickness and dying.”

The plan additionally says the federal government will proceed to offer vaccines till December 2023 and can launch a long-Covid technique sooner or later.

In a separate report, the federal government has additionally introduced it’s slashing subsidised visits to psychologists by half. Sufferers will solely have the ability to declare Medicare rebates for 10 visits to a psychologist, as an alternative of 20, as of January 1. This can be a rolling again of the Higher Entry program, which was elevated from 10 to twenty in August 2020 in response to the pandemic.

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