Better Access Initiative


About the initiative

The Commonwealth Government’s Better Access initiative aims to improve outcomes for people with a clinically-diagnosed mental disorder through evidence-based treatment.

Under this initiative, Medicare Australia rebates are available to patients for selected mental health services provided by GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists and eligible social workers and occupational therapists.

For more information on the initiative, go to the Department of Health website. The Department of Human Services also detail an Education Guide to assist in appropriate claiming and record keeping for the items.

GP Mental Health Treatment plan item numbers

Under the Better Access initiative, Medicare rebates are available for GPs to provide early intervention, assessment and referral of patients with mental disorders as part of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan. On completion of Mental Health Skills Training that is accredited by the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC), GPs are eligible to access higher rebates for the development of Mental Health Treatment Plan.
Under these item numbers, GPs can refer patients for Medicare rebated psychological services to:

  • psychiatrists
  • psychologists (psychological therapies)
  • appropriately trained mental health social workers and occupational therapists (Focussed Psychological Strategies [FPS])
  • GPs who are registered providers of FPS.
  • For more information on accredited training and other GP mental health resources, visit the new GPMHSC website for further information.

Access to Psychiatrists

There are also Medicare items which aim to support psychiatrists to see more new patients. Items 291 and 293 enable a GP to seek assessment and management advice from a psychiatrist. Under these items psychiatrists undertake a patient assessment and prepare or review, a management plan to be carried out by the referring GP.

General Mental health consultation and treatment plan review

A GP Mental Health Care consultation item (2713) is available for GPs to provide continuing management of patients with mental disorders. A Review of GP Mental Health Care Plan item is also available (2712).

Provision of Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS) by a GP

On completion of FPS Skills Training that is accredited by the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC), GPs are eligible to register with Medicare as FPS providers and have access to four additional item numbers relating to the provision of FPS by a GP: 2721; 2723; 2725; 2727 as well as telehealth item numbers 2729; 2731. There are equivalent numbers for non-vocationally registered GPs.

For more information about becoming a GP provider of FPS and other GP mental health resources, please visit the new GPMHSC website for further information.

MBS Online

MBS online contains the most up to date listing of Medicare services subsidised by the Australian government.