Albanian government cuts subsidized psychologist sessions for Australians

The Albanian government has come under fire for halving the number of subsidized treatment sessions for the mentally ill.

Health Secretary Mark Butler announced free psychologist or related mental health sessions under the Better Access program will be reduced from 20 to 10 in a matter of weeks.

Australians were able to get 10 psychologist sessions on Medicare before the Covid-19 pandemic. Better Access temporarily increased this number to 20 sessions in August 2020.

The Albanian government has been criticized for a plan to cut subsidized psychologist sessions (pictured Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Health Minister Mark Butler).

The Albanian government has been criticized for a plan to cut subsidized psychologist sessions (pictured Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Health Minister Mark Butler).

The Albanian government has been criticized for a plan to cut subsidized psychologist sessions (pictured Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Health Minister Mark Butler).

Australians were able to claim 10 pre-pandemic Medicare psychologist sessions before Better Access increased that to 20 in August 2020 (stock image)

Australians were able to claim 10 pre-pandemic Medicare psychologist sessions before Better Access increased that to 20 in August 2020 (stock image)

Australians were able to claim 10 pre-pandemic Medicare psychologist sessions before Better Access increased that to 20 in August 2020 (stock image)

But the Health Secretary said the sessions had been cut after an assessment by the University of Melbourne found they were not being used equally.

He claimed that people from poorer socioeconomic and rural areas, as well as residents of seniors, missed sessions compared to other patients.

“The assessment I am releasing today took into account the impact of those 10 additional sessions and found that they have resulted in a very large increase in the number of services in the sector in general,” Mr Butler said on Monday.

“But those extra 10 were found to exacerbate existing waiting lists and barriers to entry, particularly by the groups I mentioned (people in rural and socio-economic areas).”

“The evaluation showed that all additional services went to existing patients and that the number of new patients who were admitted into the system and were able to access psychological services actually decreased by seven percent.”

However, the ABC claimed that the review of the program found that more than 10 sessions were needed for patients with mental health problems.

“The additional 10 sessions should continue to be made available and should be targeted at people with complex mental health needs,” the review said.

It was suggested that if 20 sessions were offered as part of the programme, a review of a patient could be conducted after 10 sessions.

Health Secretary Mark Butler announced free psychologist sessions would be halved as part of the Better Access program, citing an assessment that sessions were not being used equally

Health Secretary Mark Butler announced free psychologist sessions would be halved as part of the Better Access program, citing an assessment that sessions were not being used equally

Health Secretary Mark Butler announced free psychologist sessions would be halved as part of the Better Access program, citing an assessment that sessions were not being shared equally

A review by Better Health recommended that patients struggling with their mental health should have access to more than 10 psychologist sessions (stock image)

A review by Better Health recommended that patients struggling with their mental health should have access to more than 10 psychologist sessions (stock image)

A review by Better Health recommended that patients struggling with their mental health should have access to more than 10 psychologist sessions (stock image)

The Australian Psychological Society slammed the government over the decision to cut services to Australians who need help.

APS President Dr. Catriona Davis-McCabe said: “The government-commissioned assessment of Better Access released today found that labor shortages and location are the key barriers to patient care, making the cancellation of the additional sessions program harder to understand.”

“This program has enabled many people to safely receive telemedicine or in-person psychological care for the first time in their lives, but many patients are now having to ration or discontinue treatment.

“Just as people shouldn’t be asked to ration essential medications like insulin, they shouldn’t have to ration mental health care either,” she added.

https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health/albanese-government-cuts-subsidised-psychologist-sessions-for-australians/ Albanian government cuts subsidized psychologist sessions for Australians

Brian Ashcraft

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