'Lower-income Australians feel they are being priced out of mental health care'
AAPi Director Sahra O'Doherty spoke to ABC News yesterday about the ongoing inequity in accessing mental health services. The two-tier system has dramatically and negatively impacted out-of-pocket expenses. We must raise the Medicare rebate to $150 for the clients of all psychologists.
"We have seen over the past few years, particularly because of the pandemic that there has been a higher demand for services and unfortunately there haven't been enough psychologists in the workforce to meet that demand. Also the rebates have not been increased enough so people are able to have access financially to those services," she said.
Sahra goes on to discuss the recent cuts to the number of rebatable sessions, the low rebates, psychologists' inability to bulk bill and the shortage of psychologists.
"In 13 years we have only seen an increase of $13 to the psychology rebate.”
"AAPi is also calling to allow the 8000 provisionally registered psychologists who are at the tail end of their training to provide services under Medicare.
"What we are asking for...particularly in this upcoming May budget, is adequately funded mental health services," she said.
Watch the full interview here.
'Inequity in mental health care is widening, with treatment 'out of reach' for many Australians'
A report by the ABC's specialist reporting team today says inequity in mental health treatment is widening and care is out of reach for many Australians. AAPi Executive Director Tegan Carrison is quoted at length in the story, saying disadvantaged Australians faced "barrier after barrier after barrier" when trying to access mental health care.
Ms Carrison said there were a number of levers the government could pull to start reducing inequality within the system.
"We need to increase Medicare rebates to psychologists and allied health professionals, as well as to GPs," she said.
"We need to offer incentives for mental health care providers to provide services in regional, rural and remote regions … and expand who can provide services. We would love for the government to allow provisional psychologists in the last phase of supervised practice to be able to provide services on Medicare.
"And we need to look at improving career pathways and increasing Commonwealth support in places so that we can have more psychologists on the ground".
Ms Carrison said Australia also had "about 30 per cent fewer psychologists than we need" to service the population.
"It's essential that we fix things. We are in dire straits at the moment," she said.
Read the article.