|Home | Bookmark | Tell||Active petitions in over 75 countries||Follow GoPetition|
Stop the Government from Cutting Medicare to Psychologists, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists
Petition Background (Preamble):
The Federal Government have recently announced they will be significantly reducing the number of sessions covered by Medicare for accessing allied health services under the Better Access to Mental Health initiative.
This means that people with a mental illness will not be able to seek affordable and proven non-medical (that is non psychiatric drug) treatment. This is despite an evaluation of the program that supports Medicare rebatable visits to psychologists that was conducted early 2011, which showed it to be both cost effective and achieve excellent outcomes. Under the new proposal, the amount of sessions someone can access has been reduced to 6 plus a possible 4 additional sessions if approved. That's one visit every 2 months! (unless an additional 4 sessions have been "approved" by a GP review). None of the approved interventions (CBT, IPT & Narrative Therapy for Indigenous Australians) have been empirically supported over such a small number of sessions.
The Australian Government recently stated that they are focused on making Mental Health equal to Physical Health in terms of our provision of services and level of care. If that's the case, then why is it possible to see a medical practitioner (GP) every day of the year without a previous diagnosis (actually, you can see them without even being sick! - Just for a check up) whereas to see a Psychologist you need to have been diagnosed by a GP, have only 6 sessions (non-sense when CBT is based around 12 sessions for treatment of all major conditions) and you need to get a GP review in order to have any more than 6 sessions. Is this really valuing Mental Health as we do Physical health? Reflect for a moment on the barriers to seeking mental health treatment as opposed to physical health in this country.
I work in a medical centre with a large number GP colleagues, and all of them have had a reduction in their rebates for a mental health care plan under the new arrangement. This is not the only issue for medical practitioners: The other is the cut to psychologist/OT/Social Work sessions numbers for their patients with often complication mental health conditions. 6 sessions is simply not adequate, and GPs have stated that if anything the current system needs expansion and simplification rather than further restriction.
The proposed restrictions will mean that thousands of psychologically unwell people are now being prematurely cut off from the treatment they require. Tell the Health Minister no! - as Australians we deserve to have basic mental health treatment that the rest of the developed world take for granted.
* Please note: There is another petition on this site that is essentially the same at this one and was posted a day later. I have asked the author to merge the two, but this was declined
Tell the Australian Government that we want to have access to the psychological services we need as an advanced nation.
Please re-instate 12 to 18 sessions per year under Medicare's Better Access to Mental Health program. We need more community based treatment options - not less.
The Stop the Government from Cutting Medicare to Psychologists, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists petition to Australian Government, Health Minister was written by Dr Brendon Dellar and is in the category Health at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: psychologists, mental health, medicare, sessions reduced, reduction, bamh, better access mental health