Constructive discussion could allay anxiety
Funding changes announced in the government’s 2011–12 budget relating to mental health saw over $400 million slashed from Australian patients’ Medicare-funded GP mental health services, affecting an estimated one million patients each year.
This dangerous policy shift, amplified by the Senate committee’s inability to agree on specific recommendations to guide the government’s decisions on the funding and administration of mental health services, has continued – unhalted – the journey into the unknown for many of our most vulnerable Australians.
The RACGP’s submission to the inquiry, reiterated the proven benefits and positive outcomes achieved through the Better Access program and fiercely argued the budget cuts would decimate the program, ultimately making it unfeasible.
The college raised significant concerns around the lesser value the government placed on mental health compared with