Long covid #7: Canberra inquiry and latest stats

2 minute read

Christmas long covid predictions and a paediatrician MP leading a national health inquiry.

How many Australians have long covid and what is the government doing about it? Two worthy questions we ask in The Tea Room this week. 

Professor Martin Hensher, from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, has just finished running the numbers with his team at University of Tasmania.   

On the high end of the scale, half a million Australians are estimated to have long covid symptoms this Christmas. The lower end forecasts around 160,000, with around 35,000 of them significantly limited in their daily lives. 

The wide range of possible numbers is due to a lack of national surveillance of the condition. It’s a gaping hole in Australia’s management of long covid, and our second guest this episode wants to fix it.  

Dr Mike Freelander MP is chair of the current parliamentary inquiry into long covid. He has promised a preliminary issues report by Christmas and a full report early next year in time for budget submissions. 

“I know people are talking about funding already, but we want to make sure we get the right answers and have enough convincing evidence for the government to fund support,” Dr Freelander says. 

The wicked problem of health data sharing also gets raised and Dr Freelander agrees that Australia is well behind the eight ball when it comes to digital health.  

“I’ve actually had people, mostly my medical colleagues, contact my office about the sad state of our electronic health records in Australia,” Dr Freelander said. 

Could the next parliamentary health inquiry be about the shoddy state of our electronic health records?  

Dr Freelander’s parliamentary office will take your calls now. 

You can listen and subscribe to the show by searching for “The Tea Room Medical Republic” in your favourite podcast player. 

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×