Australian Labor Government Reinstates Mental Health Sessions

THE federal government has performed a partial reversal on changes to mental health funding first announced in last year’s budget. 

It announced in May it would save $580 million over five years by rationalising the Better Access program, which subsidises treatment by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.

Most of that came from slashing Medicare rebates for GPs who devised treatment plans, while about $175 million was to come from limiting the number of services available to patients from a maximum of 18 to 10.

But after a backlash from some healthcare providers and patients Labor has decided to reinstate an additional six sessions for a “transitional period” between March and December 2012.