Politics — 03 November 2013

The federal government will continue funding a program that gives GPs round-the-clock mental health advice for patients from a psychiatrist.bigstock-Traffic-Lights-1646700

After reports emerged last week that GP Psych Support, run by the RACGP since 2006, would lose funding at the end of October, new health minister Peter Dutton blamed the former Labor government for allowing the funding to lapse and said he would continue to support the program.

“This has been another legacy of the former government leaving a program without funding,” a spokesperson for Mr Dutton said.

“However, in this case I am continuing to fund this important program for another year.”

In a statement, college president Dr Liz Marles said the service had generated positive feedback and GPs viewed it as a valuable clinical management resource.

“GPs face great difficulty in gaining access to advice from psychiatrists and there is a very serious need for a service that supports GPs to continue their vital work in addressing community health needs,” she said.

“With over 71% of patients who have mental illness presenting first to their GP, it is essential that GPs have fast and easy access to evidence-based advice from psychiatrists.”

As first appeared in Medical Observer, 1st November 2013


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