In March the government introduced temporary Medicare rebates for telehealth appointments in an effort to minimise face-to-face appointments for maladies that could be managed with an over-the-phone consultation during the pandemic.
This included a rebate for telehealth consultations for early medical abortion -- the termination of a pregnancy in the first nine weeks of gestation using the abortion drug RU486. Now the country’s sexual and reproductive healthcare providers are petitioning the government to keep the rebate beyond its September expiry date.
“It was a very positive thing to come out of the pandemic,” says Family Planning NSW medical director Dr Deborah Bateson. “[This rebate] opens up access for women including for those in rural areas where services are limited.”