GPs may have to abandon Better Access

RISING GAP fees and fewer mental health care plans are on the agenda for patients with mental illness, according to a survey indicating more than one in four GPs may abandon ­Better Access as a result of the government’s cuts to the program’s funding.

Half the respondents to an AMA survey of 763 GPs said they would be forced to charge gap fees when the new reduced rebates for drawing up mental health plans under the Better Access scheme were introduced in November, while 28% may stop drawing up the treatment plans altogether.

Only 25% of GPs said they would accept the reduced rebates.

During an address to the National Press Club last week, which he used to launch the survey findings, AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton said he saw the results as “a huge momentum of unhappiness [among GPs] moving forward”. 

“There is no suggestion mental health will not be done in general practice – it will just be