New moves in mental health rebate battle

DOCTORS have taken the next step in the campaign to stop cuts to rebates for GP mental health plans, asking tens of thousands of colleagues, health professionals and patients to sign a petition against the controversial move.

The petition, launched last week by the AMA, follows a meeting between peak doctors groups, Mental Health Minister Mark Butler and staff from Health Minister Nicola Roxon’s office during which government representatives refused to reconsider the move.

AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton said after contacting all 27,000 AMA members the association was “overwhelmed” with almost 1000 written responses from doctors and patients by the end of the first day. He will discuss petition results when he addresses the National Press Club next week.

“We said if the Government didn’t respond clearly, we would have to talk to our patients,” Dr Hambleton told MO. 

“This is the first