Better Access cuts will go back into mental health, Roxon says

In a robust question and answer session before more than 1000 delegates at the AGPN National Forum in Melbourne last week, Ms Roxon also all but ruled out meeting long-running GP demands that MBS rebates be indexed to match inflation.

Ms Roxon was asked by former AGPN chair Dr Tony Hobbs, one of the architects of the Medicare Locals (MLs) program, about the government’s plans for the $580 million it is expected to save by slashing GP Better Access.

Dr Hobbs said there were already concerns that the cuts, since taking effect on 1 November, had led to patients being “quarantined” before being treated by their GP, and demanded a guarantee that all savings go back into the ML-run Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program.

“I can absolutely commit that that is going into mental health,” Ms Roxon replied. “We have a very firm commitment about how that money is going to be spent – in mental health.

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