An open letter to Australians

MTAA has joined with healthcare peak bodies and organisations to highlight the need for Australians to look after their health, in an open letter.

“Now more than ever, Australians need to ensure they keep up their regular healthcare checks,” said Ian Burgess, MTAA CEO.

“It is important that we continue to be vigilant in our efforts to contain COVID-19, however, it is concerning that people are postponing tests and face-to-face GP visits.

“MTAA is pleased to be a part of this very important initiative to highlight the need for Australians to maintain continuity in their healthcare,” said Mr Burgess.

Dear Australia,

Let’s work together to put your health first

COVID-19 caught us by surprise, testing our health system and testing our country in many ways. The good news is that the actions taken to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of COVID-19 are working – but now we need to take action to avoid a second wave of health problems.

Understandably, during our lockdown the rates of visits to general practice, allied health professionals and emergency departments have dropped. There has also been a large drop of about 40% in the number of pathology tests being done. These are tests such as blood, urine or tests on body tissue ordered by your healthcare professionals.

While we continue to be careful and take the recommended precautions to protect our community against COVID-19, it’s important to look after the other aspects of our healthcare, and Australia’s world-class healthcare professionals are here to help you do that. Before COVID-19 struck, we were already concerned that the number of people getting cancer screening tests was too low. We also knew that early detection and monitoring for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease were lacking, with large numbers of undiagnosed cases. COVID-19 has made these existing problems even worse.

We don’t want to risk trading one health problem for another with Australians missing out on cancer, diabetes, heart or kidney checks because of fear and other barriers caused by COVID-19.

Postponing a visit to a health professional or a pathology test might seem OK, but cancer, diabetes and kidney disease do not stop during COVID-19. We need to avoid delays to ensure any new symptoms get checked and diagnosed quickly, and to ensure we monitor existing conditions.

So, if you have put off a visit to general practice, an allied health professional or a pathology test - don’t delay any further. It could save your life.

Telehealth has been expanded to make healthcare easier to access. You can now have consultations with your doctor, pharmacist or other health professionals through video chat or phone calls, and have lifesaving medicines delivered to your home.

Remember, health services are also open to see you in person - safely. Healthcare professionals are taking all the necessary hygiene measures and other precautions to keep you safe when you need to visit in person.

We understand you may have questions about how you can access the care you need safely, we encourage you to contact your health services and ask those questions.

So please get in touch, make that call, or book an appointment today. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease won’t wait, so neither should you.


Signed by:

Diabetes Australia, The Heart Foundation, Royal Australian College of General Practice, National Rural Health Alliance, Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association, Australian Diabetes Society, Consumers Health Forum, Allied Health Professions Australia, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, Medicines Australia, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Australian Diabetes Educators Association, Australian Cardiovascular Alliance, Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, The Pharmacy Guild, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Patient Voice Initiative, Australian Patients Association, Jean Hailes Foundation, Medical Technology Association of Australia, Pathology Technology Australia, Pathology Awareness Australia

Members are invited to join the first Continuity of Care Collaboration (CCC) Forum.

The Continuity of Care Collaboration (CCC) is an Australian-first national communication collaboration of over 30+ Peak Bodies, Industry and Healthcare Organisations, including MTAA, coming together to stress the importance for people to continue monitoring their health and maintaining their regular medical care.

The CCC Forum will discuss:

  • What is the collaboration? How did it come about? – John Crothers (Pathology Awareness Australia)
  • Why is the collaboration so important? - Dr Harry Nespolon (RACGP)
  • What are the seven critical areas of focus and how do we need to pivot on the ‘road-out’? - Liz De Somer (Medicines Australia)
  • Consumer Survey results – what have we learnt so far? - Leanne Wells (Consumers Health Forum)
  • The patient perspective – what has been some of the challenges during COVID-19 and how have we overcome them? - Jessica Bean (Patient Voice Initiative)
  • Q&A session

Date: 12 June 2020

Time: 12:30 - 13:30 AEST

Cost: Free