Two aspects of the Better Access service delivery protocol were explored. The first of these related to the patterns of care delivered following a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan. Analyses revealed that:

  • Approximately 21% of Better Access consumers who received a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan received a GP Mental Health Treatment Review, a ratio of approximately 5:1. In terms of services provided, the ratio of Plans to Reviews was approximately 3.5:1.

  • Overall, 58.2% of Better Access consumers received at least one allied health service following their first Plan. Conversely, 41.8% did not.

  • The extent to which Better Access consumers received allied health services following a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan varied according to age, gender, region of residence and level of socio–economic disadvantage. Older people aged 65 years or more had the highest percentage of non–receipt of allied health services following a Plan (53.3%), whereas people aged 15 years or less had the lowest percentage (29.8%). The percentage for all other age groups was similar to the average for all Better Access consumers of 41.8%.

  • The percentage of non–receipt of Better Access allied health services following a Plan was somewhat higher for males (44.0%) than females (40.6%). Non–receipt of Better Access allied health services following a Plan increased considerably as level ofgeographical remoteness increased, being 19.6% lower for people in other rural areas, and 47.8% lower for people in remote areas. Non–receipt of Better Access allied health services following a Plan increased as level of socio–economic disadvantage increased. Non–receipt of Better Access allied health services following a first Plan were 14.6% higher for people in capital cities, but were 14.4% lower for people in other rural areas and 15.1% lower for people in remote areas.
The second aspect of the Better Access service delivery protocol explored was the volume of allied health services delivered in a calendar year. Analyses revealed that:
  • Among all consumers who received Better Access psychological services in 2007 and 2008, around 75% received between one and six, 20% received between seven and 12, and 5% received between 13 and 18. This suggests that the protocol is being interpreted appropriately by providers.