Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services

Given the relative inter-regional similarity in the prevalence of mental disorders, one might expect relatively similar rates of service provision across remoteness areas, however, this is not the case.

Table 4: Crude rate of people receiving Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services, by provider type, and remoteness area, 2015–16

 

Psychiatrists

General practitioners

Clinical psychologists

Other psychologists

Other allied health

All providers

 

People per 1,000 population

MC

17.4

79.0

21.0

26.9

3.1

97.8

IR

13.8

84.4

17.1

29.0

4.9

100.6

OR

9.7

66.1

9.9

19.0

3.7

77.2

R

6.1

37.9

4.4

7.3

1.6

44.7

VR

4.2

19.9

2.3

4.1

0.7

24.2

Source: http://mhsa.aihw.gov.au/downloads/data-downloads/

Table 5: Crude rate of provision of Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services, by provider type, by remoteness, 2015–16

 

Psychiatrists

General practitioners

Clinical psychologists

Other psychologists

Other allied health

All providers

 

Services per 1,000 population

MC

115.3

139.9

96.7

115.9

14.0

481.9

IR

71.5

146.0

73.0

118.6

19.6

428.7

OR

44.0

111.6

40.4

73.1

14.4

283.5

R

24.7

56.8

17.6

26.3

4.9

130.2

VR

17.5

29.4

8.9

14.4

2.6

72.8

Source: http://mhsa.aihw.gov.au/downloads/data-downloads/

 

Table 6: Average number of MBS mental health related services received by each patient receiving a service, by provider type, by remoteness, 2015–16

 

Psychiatrists

General practitioners

Clinical psychologists

Other psychologists

Other allied health

All providers

MC

7

2

5

4

5

5

IR

5

2

4

4

4

4

OR

5

2

4

4

4

4

R

4

1

4

4

3

3

VR

4

1

4

3

4

3

Source: Derived by NRHA from http://mhsa.aihw.gov.au/downloads/data-downloads/

 

 

From the Tables above:

  • Compared with Major cities, a greater proportion of the population in Inner regional areas “saw a GP for an MBS funded mental health related service”, while a lower and much lower proportion in Outer regional and remote areas did so. For example, 8.4% of Inner regional residents saw a GP for a mental health related service in 2015-16, compared with 7.9% of people in Major cities, and 6.6%. 3.8% and 2.0% of residents in OR, R and Very remote areas respectively.
  • The pattern for the rate of service provision broadly follows that for the number of people receiving MBS funded mental health related services.
  • Lower rates of service provision per patient are evident in Table 6 above. For example while a patient in Major cities receiving MBS funded mental health services from a GP in 2015-16 received two of them on average, a similar patient in remote areas received one.A similar pattern applies for the other health professionals, but with less apparent variation amongst psychologists.

The rate at which MBS funded mental health services are used, has increased over the past decade, but while the relative city/country gap between the rate of MBS funded mental health services has typically narrowed, the absolute gap has tended to increase. Ie rates have increased in all areas, and while the rates of increase have typically been greater in rural and remote areas than in Major cities, these increases have been from an already high base in Major cities.

The Appendix contains a number of graphs showing the change in the rate at which MBS funded mental health services has grown over the past decade.