Senator Helen Polley today called on the Abbott government to change its view on the NBN and initiate a nationwide policy of Fibre To the Home (FTTH) technology to ensure the safety and health of older Australians.
“NBN Co today have stated that medical alarm devices running on the old copper network will stop working unless they are transferred to the National Broadband Network by May 23,” Senator Polley said.
Medical alarms and devices running on copper lines are not transitioned automatically and therefore represent a clear health risk to older Australians who rely on these alarms for their health.
“I hold grave concerns for citizens who have not transferred over to the NBN by May 23 as they will not be able to receive medical assistance in life threatening situations,” Senator Polley said.
More broadly medical alarm devices represent just one form of technology which secures the health and safety of older Australians. Sophisticated telehealth technology is the future of medicine and requires FTTH NBN to ensure the safety and health of all Australians.
“The government just fails to understand how significant telehealth technology and FTTH NBN is for Australia’s future,” Senator Polley said.
The health of older Australians will become dependent on telehealth technology and we are only just scratching the surface of the potential of this sophisticated technology.
“One thing is certain. That is, we need FTTH NBN technology for effective service delivery and to create conditions where telehealth technology can be used to its fullest potential,” Senator Polley said.
Currently, Aged-care provider Feros Care is helping seniors in Coffs Harbour to stay in their homes longer through daily monitoring of their well-being, and regular video links with nurses, using FTTH NBN.
Feros Care predicts that, assuming half of their nurses' visits are done using NBN-enabled telehealth, each nurse could save 7,700kms in travel, 161 hours of travel time, and almost double the number of clients they can see each year.
The Coalition has decided to use multiple technologies (including the old copper network in Tasmania) to connect Australians to the network and therefore create a digital divide between people who have fast internet services and those who have adequate services.
“We are going to have people who can monitor their blood pressure and receive advice from their doctor via a video link and people who have to travel hundreds of kilometres to receive medical care,” Senator Polley said.
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