Better Access fails most needy

The study, which also shows the rich see psychologists at 2.5 times the rate of the poorest patients, shows the Better Access program has failed to provide mental healthcare equitably, the authors said.

“What you’ve got is at least equivalent or higher needs for care [in disadvantaged areas], but lower volumes of service,” said lead author Graham Meadows, professor of psychiatry.

Professor Meadows pointed to the almost linear relationship between socioeconomic advantage and uptake of mental health services, saying Better Access failed to meet the Medicare principle of universality.

Using FOI data from 2007–11, this study is the first to show in such depth that access to services is not just delivered along geographic lines, but along socioeconomic ones as well, he said.

“If you’re in a well-off area… you’re more likely to be seeing [mental healthcare workers], you’re more likely to