In recent years, the time people must wait to see a doctor has increased, which has put a lot of pressure on the medical industry. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the 2021-2022 financial year, almost two in five people (39.1%) who needed to see a GP urgently had to wait more than 24 hours for their appointment. Thankfully, the introduction of telehealth appointments and online GPs has helped ease the strain on the waiting list crisis by reducing the burden on the system.
Why is there a wait list crisis?
The pandemic’s impact continues to linger, affecting us in many ways. One significant consequence is the cancellation of elective surgeries for a wide range of health conditions during lockdowns. As hospitals work to address new cases while grappling with staffing shortages, catching up on the backlog of postponed surgeries has become a daunting challenge. Moreover, the pandemic and its aftermath have triggered a notable increase in stress among individuals, which, in turn, has led to a surge in various illnesses. With stress being one of the biggest causes of medical issues, this is not something to be taken lightly.
The heightened demand for access to GPs placed an immense strain on the healthcare system. The sheer volume of people requiring medical attention has overwhelmed the available number of GPs, creating a situation where the system struggles to provide adequate care for everyone in need. Online GPs are needed now more than ever.
An increase in mental health appointments
More people than ever are grappling with mental illness, facing heightened levels of stress and anxiety that drive them to seek help. Many are reaching out for mental health support, recognising the importance of getting assistance. However, this surge in demand for help has strained the medical system, revealing a shortage of psychologists to meet the needs of the increasing number of patients.
The challenge lies in finding available psychologists who can take on new patients. Even when they’re willing, the wait times are long – often three to six months for an appointment. The need for telehealth appointments in the realm of mental health is the only solution to help alleviate the stress of wait times.
How telehealth appointments are helping to bring down wait times
- Psychologists can provide online help. While not every issue can be resolved through telehealth, psychologists can effectively conduct their work online, much like they do in person. Many psychologists have transitioned to working from home instead of their offices, managing all their tasks remotely. This change has allowed them to accommodate more patients, reducing the waiting time for appointments.
- Telehealth appointments are convenient, especially for those who are unwell or busy. Physical appointments often get cancelled abruptly, causing disruptions. With the surge in telehealth, fewer appointments are called off, resulting in quicker access to care. As telehealth appointments become more widely available, people in rural areas can choose from a broader range of healthcare providers. This eliminates the need to travel to distant areas or settle for a limited selection of providers that previously offered telehealth.
- Faster referral process. Telehealth appointments with online GPs are quicker than in-person visits. This speed translates into quicker referrals to specialists, taking days rather than weeks or even months.
The GP wait list crisis has affected many people across Australia, with many still struggling today. Telehealth appointments and Online GPs are helping to ease this strain, and we hope that these innovative solutions will continue to bridge the gap between healthcare demand and accessibility.
13 DOCTOR has the best phone doctors on hand
Trust 13 DOCTOR for secure online access to experienced, compassionate Australian doctors who actually listen. We’re not trying to hurry up the appointment just so we can squeeze another one in. We want to help you. Our phone doctors listen to your problems and work with you to solve them. We bridge gaps in rural and remote areas, providing accessible healthcare for everyone. Wherever you are in Australia, book a telehealth consult with our doctors for improved health outcomes.
Online telehealth services like 13 Doctor can assist in navigating symptoms and provide access to a medical professional from the comfort of your own home. With appointments available seven days a week, making a conscious effort to stay on top of your health has never been easier. Contact us today.