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Referrer obligations

Development of a treatment plan

Referrers under the Better Access initiative are general practitioners, psychiatrists and paediatricians. For patients to have access to the Medicare items under the Better Access initiative as well as a referral a referrer must also provide a treatment plan. General practitioners must assess the patient for eligibility and develop a Mental Health Treatment Plan and the appropriate Medicare item number billed. The general practitioner must provide a referral letter to the provider who will be undertaking the treatment services with the patient. The MHTP may also be provided to service providers with client consent. Referrals under psychiatrists and paediatricians also require assessment and the development of a care plan (although the format of this is at the discretion of the health professional), along with a referral letter to the service provider.

Review of patient progress

General practitioners, psychiatrists and paediatricians must review the patient’s progress at the completion of services under the referral and bill the appropriate Medicare item number. A new plan should not be prepared unless clinically required, and generally not within 12 months of the date of the previous plan.

The review process includes:

  • evidence of patient consent for the service
  • a review of patient progress and the goals outlined in the treatment plan
  • review of the Treatment Plan and modification if required
  • checking, reinforcing and expanding psycho-education
  • a documented plan for crisis intervention and relapse prevention, if appropriate
  • re-administration of outcome measures used as part of assessment (except if not considered appropriate).

Following the review a referral for additional sessions may be provided if required.


Practice guide: Communication between medical and mental health professionals