Mental illness funding chop
Story Added : 13th May 2011
The Better Access program provides access to mental health practitioners through Medicare and has been running successfully for the past three decades.
Executive director of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), Professor Lyn Littlefield, said funding changes announced to Better Access will harm mental health service delivery, with long-term impacts for some patients.
“Government plans to reduce the number of sessions of psychological treatment available for the people who most need it,” he said.
“This program is widely used by Australians, with moderate to severe mental disorders. It is a decision that needs to be reviewed.”
APS welcomed additional funding to other key mental health programs, especially to people living in rural and remote areas in the budget.
“Overall the Government has made significant and well-targeted investment in mental health that will benefit many Australians with mental illness,” Professor Littlefield said.
“Increased investment in services to better support people with severe and persistent mental illness through improved coordination of social and clinical services is urgently needed and the Government’s moves in this area are timely.
“But the changes to Better Access are not warranted.”