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Time is ticking for mental health services: Greens

Media Release
Penny Wright 8 Feb 2012

The countdown is on for the Government to ensure patients don’t miss out on crucial mental health treatment when the reinstated sessions for the Better Access program finish at the end of the year, the Greens said.

Greens spokesperson for mental health, Senator Penny Wright, officially withdrew a motion to disallow cuts to the program today after the Government announced last week they would re-instate six additional sessions in exceptional circumstances as an interim measure.

“The reinstatement of six additional sessions in exceptional circumstances is a positive compromise and something that the Greens have been pushing hard for,” Senator Wright said.

“But for people relying on treatment under the Better Access program, the clock is already ticking again.

 “Before the Government’s compromise, we had a situation where many consumers were facing the threat of not having access to adequate treatment.

“And we will have the same situation again if other programs such as ATAPS and youth mental health programs are not geared up to meet the need out there, as was the case this time.

“The Government needs to ensure these programs are ready come January 1 next year. Consumers cannot wait until five to twelve again to find out whether they will be able to access the treatment they need, at a price they can afford.

“It is imperative that the Government identify what needs to be done to get services up to speed and then get it done quickly before time runs out.”

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