Doctors clash after Govt adviser labels GPs ‘glorified referrers’

A FEDERAL Government mental health adviser who accused GPs of allowing themselves to become “glorified referrers” under the Better Access program has raised the ire of the AMA. 

As GP groups prepare to meet with Health Minister Nicola Roxon and Mental Health Minister Mark Butler to lobby against cuts to MBS rebates for mental health care plans, the AMA has hit out at Professor Ian Hickie over comments made in an editorial in the latest MJA.

Professor Hickie and Sebastian Rosenberg, both of the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute, argued that while there was a role for GPs in coordinating primary mental health care, that role had been left largely vacant. 

“No wonder the Government is now backing better value services,” they wrote, adding the profession needed to “abandon self-interest” and support an overhaul of Better Access.