AMA Response to Productivity Commission Inquiry Report on Mental Health

25 Mar 2021

The AMA has recently submitted our response to the Productivity Commission Mental Health Inquiry Report (the Report). The Report emphasises the need to create a patient-centred mental health system and the AMA acknowledges this is essential to ensure that people experiencing mental ill-health can access quality care based on their specific needs.

The AMA is concerned that the Report proposes the abolition of GP Mental Health Treatment Planning (GPMHP) items under Medicare, replacing them with an online tool. While the intent of this may be that the tool is used by GPs in collaboration with their patients, the AMA is concerned that patients using this tool may also bypass their GP altogether. Our advice in the submission is that General Practitioners should be supported to use their extensive training and professional clinical skills to engage with their patients in the most appropriate way.

The AMA welcomes the economic evaluation components of the Report and the evidence base this has provided for ongoing policy and reform considerations. We acknowledge that mental health is underfunded at all levels, with current allocations across sectors and between public and private service delivery falling short in responding to community need, demand and disease burden. Australia’s mental health system is in critical need of reform, and that the Report presents an opportunity to rethink how we as a nation tackle mental ill-health at the community, funding and systemic levels. The AMA agrees that social determinants of health are important, and we support this approach being a key objective of the Report.