Using the same procedure, patterns in uptake of Better Access items were examined separately by item group. Table 3.3 shows the number of persons who received services in each item group, as well as the percentage they represent of all Better Access users, and the rate of uptake of each item group per 1,000 population for 2007, 2008 and 2009. Annual rates of uptake increased in each successive year for all item groups. For most item groups, however, the rate of increase slowed over time. The successive increases from 2007 to 2008, and 2008 to 2009 for each item group were: General Practitioner items, 29.8% and 18.5%; Psychological Therapy Services items, 51.1% and 25.4%; and Focussed Psychological Strategies items, 36.1% and 21.1%. The exception was the Consultant Psychiatry items, for which rates increased by 4.8% between 2007 to 2008 and by 6.8% between 2008 and 2009.

Table 3.3 shows the relative percentage of Better Access users who used each of the item groups:

  • In each of 2007, 2008 and 2009, the majority of Better Access service users received at least one of the GP Mental Health Treatment items, which reflects the function of the GP Mental Health Treatment Plan (2710) and Review (2712) items as 'gateways' to further Better Access services.

  • Uptake of the Focussed Psychological Strategies items was the second greatest in magnitude, with approximately one–third of Better Access service users receiving at least one of these services (31.8% in 2007, 32.8% in 2008, and 33.6% in 2009).

  • Uptake of Psychological Therapy Services items was the third greatest in magnitude with 13.9% of Better Access users receiving at least one of these services in 2007, 15.9% in 2008, and 16.8% in 2009.

  • Uptake of the Consultant Psychiatry items was the smallest in magnitude, with 12.4% of Better Access users receiving at least one of these services in 2007, 9.9% in 2008, and 8.9% in 2009.
Figure 3.2 plots the growth in rates of uptake for each item group from the December 2006 quarter to the March 2010 quarter, for each item group.

Comparisons of the 2007 and post–2007 trends for each item group are shown in table 3.4.

Top of pageTogether, figure 3.2 and table 3.4 indicate that:

  • The rate of uptake of any GP Mental Health Treatment Better Access item rose significantly from 8.3 persons per 1,000 total population in the March 2007 quarter to 16.4 persons per 1,000 in the March 2010 quarter. Uptake of these items increased significantly in both the 2007 (RR = 1.073; P < 0.001) and post–2007 (RR = 1.044; P < 0.001) periods. Although the rate of growth was somewhat lower in the post–2007 period, the change in the rate of growth from 2007 was not statistically significant.

  • The rates of uptake of any Consultant Psychiatry Better Access item were stable between the March 2007 quarter (1.2 persons per 1,000 total population) and the March 2010 quarter (1.2 persons per 1,000 total population). The analysis of trends showed that there was no significant trend in uptake within or between the 2007 and post–2007 periods.

  • The rate of uptake of any Psychological Therapy Services Better Access item rose from 1.3 persons per 1,000 total population in the March 2007 quarter to 4.2 persons per 1,000 in the March 2010 quarter. The rate of uptake of any Focussed Psychological Strategies Better Access item rose from 3.1 per 1,000 total population in the March 2007 quarter to 7.9 per 1,000 in the March 2010 quarter. Uptake of Psychological Therapy Services and Focussed Psychological Strategies items grew significantly in both the 2007 and post–2007 periods, but the rate of growth was significantly slower after 2007.

Fig 3.2 Uptake of Better Access item groups by quarter, December 2006 quarter to March 2010 quarter.

Text equivalent below for Fig 3.2 Uptake of Better Access item groups by quarter, December 2006 quarter to March 2010 quarter.Top of page

Text version of Fig 3.2

Figures in this description are approximate as they have been read from the graph.
QuarterGeneral Practitioner Mental Health Treatment
Rate per 1,000 population
Consultant psychiatry
Rate per 1,000 population
Psychological therapies
Rate per 1,000 population
Focussed psychological strategies
Rate per 1,000 population
December 06
4.0
0.8
0.0
1.0
March 07
8.0
1.0
1.0
3.0
June 07
9.2
1.0
2.0
4.5
September 07
10.0
1.0
2.5
5.0
December 07
10.1
1.0
2.6
5.1
March 08
11.2
1.0
2.7
5.1
June 08
12.1
1.0
3.0
6.4
September 08
13.0
1.0
3.2
6.8
December 08
13.1
1.0
3.2
7.0
March 09
14.8
1.0
3.7
7.2
June 09
14.8
1.0
4.1
8.0
September 09
15.8
1.0
4.2
8.5
December 09
15.0
1.0
4.1
8.1
March 10
16.5
1.0
4.1
7.9

Table 3.3 Persons receiving MBS–subsidised Better Access services by item group, 2007, 2008 and 2009

2007
N persons
2007
% of persons
2007
Rate (per 1,000)
2008
N persons
2008
% of persons
2008
Rate (per 1,000)
2009
N persons
2009
% of persons
2009
Rate (per 1,000)
GP items
618,867
87.1
29.5
817,738
85.9
38.3
971,836
86.0
45.4
CP items
87,947
12.4
4.2
93,736
9.9
4.4
100,434
8.9
4.7
PTS items
98,612
13.9
4.7
151,587
15.9
7.1
189,418
16.8
8.9
FPS items
226,169
31.8
10.8
312,035
32.8
14.7
379,284
33.6
17.8
All Better Access itemsa
710,840
33.8
951,454
44.5
1,130,384
52.8

2007 and 2008 figures have regard to all claims processed up to and including 30 April 2009; 2009 figures have regard to all claims processed up to and including 30 April 2010.
GP, General practitioner; CP, Consultant Psychiatry; PTS Psychological Therapy Services; FPS, Focussed Psychological Strategies; Rate per 1,000 total population; Rates are directly age–standardised.
a The sum of persons receiving services under each item group will be greater than for all Better Access items because a person may receive services from more than one item group.

Top of page

Table 3.4 Estimated change in trends for uptake of MBS–subsidised Better Access services by item group, March 2007 quarter to March 2010 quarter

Trend in year 2007
RR (95% CI)
PTrend after 2007
RR (95% CI)
PRatio of trendsa
RR (95% CI)
P
GP items
1.073 (1.051-1.094)
<0.001
1.044 (1.035-1.053)
<0.001
0.973 (0.945-1.002)
0.067
CP items
1.008 (1.982-1.034)
0.567
1.009 (0.995-1.022)
0.198
1.001 (0.959-1.045)
0.958
PTS items
1.238 (1.138-1.348)
<0.001
1.056 (1.041-1.072)
<0.001
0.853 (0.798-0.912)
<0.001
FPS items
1.204 (1.123-1.291)
<0.001
1.048 (1.034-1.062)
<0.001
0.871 (0.822-0.922)
<0.001

2007 and 2008 figures have regard to all claims processed up to and including 30 April 2009; 2009 figures have regard to all claims processed up to and including 30 April 2010.
GP, General practitioner; CP, Consultant psychiatrist; PTS Psychological Therapy Services; FPS, Focussed Psychological Strategies; RR, rate ratio; CI, confidence interval.
a The ratio of the post–2007 trend to the 2007 trend.