Anger turns to action over Budget cuts

IN THE aftermath of the Federal Budget, angry GPs are mobilising to fight the cuts to mental health plan rebates, which – as MO can reveal – experts say were based on a misinterpretation of data. 

Days after the cuts to the Better Access program were announced, Mental Health Minister Mark Butler antagonised GPs by suggesting they were paid “over the odds” for drawing up mental health plans.
 He noted the average Better Access consultation lasted just 28 minutes and attracted a $163 rebate, while a 40-minute GP consultation attracted a rebate of just $99.

But Associate Professor Helena Britt, head of the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) program, said the 28-minute average GP consult for mental health – provided by her and quoted by Mr Butler – was only part of the time practitioners spent on mental health plans.

She said the data included only the face-to-face time between GPs and