Analyses showed no evidence, at a Division level, of any reduction in demand for non–Better Access mental health MBS related to the introduction of Better Access. Rates of non–Better Access MBS item use were stable in the two years before and after the introduction of Better Access. However Divisions with higher uptake of Better Access also had significantly higher uptake of other mental health MBS items. This was the case in both metropolitan and rural and remote regions.

The uptake of ATAPS psychological services has been increasing overall since late 2004. Rates of uptake of ATAPS psychological services continued to grow in the post–Better Access period, although the rate of growth was significantly slower than in the pre–Better Access period. Further analysis showed that this pattern was true for metropolitan regions, whereas in rural and remote regions, uptake had stabilised after the introduction of Better Access.

Other patterns varied according to rurality/urbanicity. ATAPS psychological services have proportionally greater penetration into rural and remote regions than metropolitan regions (whereas the reverse is true for Better Access). This pattern was not affected by the introduction of Better Access. If anything, the relative reach of ATAPS into rural and remote regions appears have increased.

At a Division level, overall demand for ATAPS psychological services appears to be related to patterns of demand for Better Access services. Divisions with higher population uptake of Better Access appeared to have lower population uptake of ATAPS psychological services. Higher rates of Better Access services used were also associated with lower rates of ATAPS psychological services used. However, further analysis revealed that this pattern differed according to rurality. In metropolitan regions, Divisions with higher uptake of Better Access also had significantly higher population uptake of ATAPS psychological services, but not higher rates of services used. In contrast, in rural or remote regions, Divisions with higher uptake of Better Access had significantly lower population uptake of ATAPS psychological services, and lower rates of ATAPS psychological services used.