“A statewide healthcare system with new capacity, co-operation, transparent reporting systems, financial accountability and with patients the focus of attention—this is a vision all Queenslanders want to see.” So opened the message from Campbell Newman, Premier of Queensland, Australia, in Blueprint for better healthcare in Queensland in February last year. Turning to telehealth Mr Newman said “In remote communities, this government will work to provide 24-hour access to safe and sustainable care through a revised network of Telehealth facilities for the very first time. This is a 21st century solution to a problem long-regarded as impossible. Our plan will provide reliable health services in places where they were never previously available.”
A year on, the Health and Community Services Committee of the Queensland Parliament has opened an inquiry into telehealth services in the public sector health services in Queensland. The inquiry will consider the implementation of telehealth by the Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services, including the Rural Telehealth Service that was announced in the Blueprint for better healthcare in Queensland.
The committee will examine trials, pilots and other sites, consider the value for money of the delivery of telehealth services, examine the factors that support successful implementation of telehealth services, identify any barriers to successful implementation and consider strategies to address such barriers. The committee intends to visit some rural and regional telehealth sites and hold public hearings in Brisbane and other locations.
The committee will receive an initial public briefing from the Department of Health on Wednesday 5 March at 11.00am in Brisbane. The briefing program is available here. This public briefing will be broadcast live via the link http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/broadcast-committee/live, and a transcript of the briefing will be published here when available.