Mark Tayar

by marktee,
I have a chronic mental health condition and also care for someone with one. During COVID we were in lockdown together and supported each other as much as we can with the help of telephone lines SANE and the now-closed Being Supported (NSW warm line). We also saw our GPs for scripts, advice and referrals using mostly calls but occasionally video.

Overall, it was disappointing that adequate video conferencing was not used and it was difficult to see specialists quickly. For my private psychiatrist, his reception didn't answer the phone, did not return voicemails or emails and were not even there when I walked into the clinic to see what was going on despite stating they were open for appointments. One GP who I don't normally see but is in the same practice took a long time to see and needed to psychically examine me one time but I had a slight sniffle in March. Then, it took a week at least to get GP appointments by phone and toward the end of the year when I needed a GP quickly, 13 SICK was hopeless and 4 telehealth clinics didn't show up to the appointment because they "hadn't seen me face to face within the last 12 months".

I use telehealth for psychology currently but only because it saves me travel time during office hours. I would prefer to meet face to face in almost all situations and a non-acute clinic run 24/7 near major train stations would be much more preferable to telehealth in almost every way. I am technologically literate and communicate across many online platforms but telehealth currently is a very poor cousin to real life healthcare and is useful because there are so many other major gaps in our health system that are apparently too expensive to fill with quality care despite missing opportunities for health promotion, prevention and reduction of ED presentations.

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