Earlier this week, RACGP released their Health of the Nation Report which demonstrates that mental health continues to lead the areas of concern for GPs - 72% of GPs reported psychological factors as the main reason for patient presentation.
With the halving of Better Access sessions, the two-tier system, lack of public services and low Medicare rebates, combined with the cost-of-living crisis, the mental health needs of our community continue to be overwhelming. With increasing frequency, GPs are reaching out with clients desperate for psychologists. AAPi is continuing to sound the alarm to State and Federal Governments that now is the time for urgent action, and adequate funding and focus on psychology are required.
In the past week, AAPi has met with key peak bodies in the disability workforce and the NDIA to discuss pricing and therapy item numbers, allied health assistants, GST, and the issues facing psychologists when they deal with the agency. The NDIA has agreed to respond to significant concerns that AAPi has regarding how the agency deals with funding for, and reports from, psychologists. We will provide more information to members when this response is received. We acknowledge that many of our members are having more frequent issues with the agency and will continue our advocacy work to resolve this.
AAPi also met with key Australian Bureau of Statistics staff regarding the Classification of Occupations project. AAPi's strong recommendation is that psychology is adequately classified to capture the full diversity of the workforce.
We also completed submissions to the National Audit Office on PHN programs and provided feedback about the MBS Review Advisory Committee's consultation into telehealth.
Other recent activities have included representing psychology at the ACT Health Forum and advocacy for provisional psychologists and students. Next week, AAPi will attend the DVA/Open Arms Health Providers Partnership Forum in Canberra, the Allied Health Professions Australia Collaborative Forum and the NDIS National Mental Health Sector Reference Group meeting. We are also finalising our contribution to the crucial mental health care reform recommendations for the Federal Government due to be released later this year.