5 May 2017

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) welcomes Health Minister Greg Hunt’s recognition of the need to improve access to psychological treatment for people with eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa.

APS President Anthony Cichello congratulated the action of the Minister to recommend the Medicare Review Committee extend the number of psychology sesssions available under Medicare for people with eating disorders. 

“We know that the most cost-effective treatment for eating disorders such as anorexia is well targeted cognitive behaviour therapy” says Mr Cichello. “This requires at least 20 sessions of treatment to be effective but at the moment sufferers can only receive a Medicare rebate for 10 sessions every year."

An increase in the number of sessions under Medicare will mean that people with eating disorders who cannot afford to pay for private treatment will be able to get the appropriate dose of treatment they need.

APS Executive Director Professor Lyn Littlefield says the APS has been advocating for the permanent reinstatement of six sessions of Medicare-funded psychological treatment that were cut from the Better Access scheme in 2013 to provide more effective care.

“The cuts affected an estimated 48,000 people with complex conditions such as eating disorders,” says Professor Littlefield.  “Reinstatement of the sessions would enable many thousands of Australians with severe but common mental health disorders to access the appropriate length of psychological treatment.”

In its 2017-18 pre-budget submission, the APS called for improved access to psychologists for people with complex mental health disorders such as severe depression and anxiety disorders, and for people with more complex conditions such as eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

For more information, or to arrange an interview call Rebecca Matthews on 03 8662 3358 or 0435 896 444, or email media@psychology.org.au.  Find the APS Media team on Twitter:  @AustPsych.

 

The APS is the largest professional organisation for psychologists in Australia, representing more than 22,000 members. The APS is committed to advancing psychology as a discipline and profession. It spreads the message that psychologists make a difference to people’s lives, through improving psychological knowledge and community wellbeing.