Telehealth Access: letter writing campaign

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April 2024

ME/CFS SA has been in consultation with Hon Emily Bourke MLC, Assistant Minister to the Premier and Assistant Minister for Autism. We are grateful for her interest and active support.

Emily’s first action has been to write to the federal and South Australian Health Ministers asking that people with ME/CFS be given access to Telehealth, without the need for an annual face-to-face consultation.

How can you help?

Emily has invited people with ME/CFS, and those who care for them, to send similar emails or hardcopy letters to the Ministers to reinforce her message.

Emily has said that people are welcome to use the text from her letters, as well as choosing your own message.

Even the briefest message makes a difference, especially if you refer to knowing that Emily Burke has already written.

Links to Emily's letters follow, as well as content from her letters that you can copy and paste, or adapt, if you are having difficulty composing your own letter.

Emily Bourke's letter to Minister Butler

Emily Bourke's letter to Minister Picton

Federal Health Minister

Hon. Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
GPO Box 2038
Port Adelaide SA 5015

South Australian Health Minister

Hon. Chris Picton MP
Minister for Health and Wellbeing
GPO Box 2555
Adelaide SA 5001

Content that works for both Ministers

An estimated 500,000 Australians have ME/CFS, including those whose ME/CFS was triggered by COVID-19, with the peak ages of onset being 10-19 and 30-39.

The hallmark feature of the illness is post-exertional malaise (PEM), in which symptoms are exacerbated by physical or cognitive effort. For people with ME/CFS, even basic activities of daily living such as toileting, bathing, dressing, talking, and reading can trigger PEM. This means that physical attendance at a doctor’s appointment is extremely difficult.

I understand that to meet eligibility requirements for telehealth, patients must attend one face-toface consultation per year. Members of the ME/CFS community have said that this is impossible for many with the condition, particularly those without family support, and so they simply miss out on receiving the care that they need.

Closing request for Minister Butler

I would appreciate it if you could please advise whether there is any consideration being given to exempting patients with ME/CFS from attending face-to-face consultations in order to access telehealth.

Closing request for Minister Picton and other state and territory ministers

While I have also written to the federal Minister for Health, who is the Minister responsible for telehealth, I’m also bringing this matter to your attention for consideration.

Canva image 240222 EB letter to Min Butler re ME CFS pdf

General information on advocacy

It is important to identify the appropriate target for your advocacy, position papers, submissions, etc. when addressing an issue. Further information may be found on our web page: Which level of government is responsible?

Last edited: 04 April, 2024