COAG Mental Health - Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Scheme

New Medicare rebates will be introduced for people with mental illnesses to access improved services from appropriately trained GPs and psychiatrists and, on referral, from clinical psychologists.

Page last updated: 09 May 2006

PDF printable version of COAG Mental Health - Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Scheme (PDF 39 KB)

Why is this important?

  • About 50 per cent of mental illness remains untreated. This measure will provide better access to mental health care by GPs, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and other appropriately trained allied mental health professionals.

Who will benefit?

  • In 2010-11 an estimated 35,000 additional individuals with a severe mental illness will be treated by a psychiatrist.
  • More people with mental illnesses will benefit through better access to clinical psychology services on referral by GPs with appropriate training or psychiatrists.
  • Medicare will provide rebates for appropriately trained GPs to prepare structured mental health care plans and review services.
  • These measures will also support GPs and primary care service providers with education and training to better diagnose and treat mental illness.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • This measure forms part of the Government’s contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, as announced on 5 April 2006.
  • The Government has committed $538 million over the next five years to support GPs and psychiatrists to provide more focussed mental health care and to improve access to other professionals.

What have we done in the past?


This measure builds on other Commonwealth initiatives such as:
  • Medicare initiatives such as the Chronic Disease Management items and rebates for allied health services;
  • funding of $102.2 million in the 2005-06 Budget for continuation of the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care Programme;
  • funding provided in 2004-05 to address mental health and related drug and alcohol problems faced by young people; and
  • the Commonwealth’s provision of $69 million for the Youth Mental Health Initiative, which includes a National Youth Mental Health Foundation to coordinate activity for youth mental health and related drug and alcohol problems in Australia.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This initiative will be reviewed in the 2011-12 Budget.

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