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Mark Butler

The following articles have the tag Mark Butler

Plea for more help with natural disasters

THE department of health has defended its funding arrangements for GP-led mental health services offered through Medicare Locals (MLs) after the RACGP called for extra resources in areas affected by natural disasters.

Gillard spares mental health minister from chop

Gillard spares mental health minister from chop

THE federal minister for mental health and ageing, Mark Butler, has avoided the axe following the latest front-bench reshuffle by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Behind the news – Better Access cuts

When the federal government slashed funding for the successful GP-led mental health scheme Better Access, it claimed the savings would go into a bigger and better Medicare Local-run scheme, Access To Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS). But two years later, ATAPS seems to be nearing its financial ceiling with at least one ML freezing its use of the scheme due to overwhelming demand.

Alarm over mental health funding

A SECOND Medicare Local has been forced to stop referring patients to the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) scheme because of a huge increase in demand, sparking calls for an overhaul of mental health funding.

GPs frozen out of mental health funds

A GP-referred mental health service in a designated District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) has been frozen because the scheme has run out of money.

Frozen mental health nurse program reached most needy

THE federal government is yet to respond to a two-month-old health department report that found a GP-led mental health nurse scheme — effectively frozen last year — was reaching the most needy patients and cutting hospital admissions.

More mental health nurses needed: RACGP

More mental health nurses needed: RACGP

THE RACGP has backed calls for more funding for community mental health nurses after a review found they had strong GP support, were effective and saved money.

MLs should be handed mental health reform role

MLs should be handed mental health reform role

MOST Medicare Locals (MLs) want a role in a $549.8 million reform of support services for people with serious mental illness but should have been given the job automatically, the national ML body has said.

$16.4m ‘virtual’ mental health clinic to be launched

THE federal government will launch later this year a $16.4 million ‘virtual’ clinic which it hopes will increase patient access to phone and online support services for mental health.

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

THE Commonwealth and state governments remain at a stalemate over provision of funding for 182 international medical student intern places after two weeks of negotiations between the parties failed to finalise a deal.

$18m rural and remote health workforce boost

THE federal government will inject $18 million dollars into boosting the health workforce in regional and remote communities through a large-scale recruitment drive and focus on rural and medical generalists and physicians.

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

Funding stalemate for 182 med students unresolved

THE Commonwealth and state governments remain at a stalemate over provision of funding for 182 international medical student intern places after two weeks of negotiations between the parties failed to finalise a deal.

Better Access cuts mean less time for care: survey

ALMOST half of GPs have cut mental health consult times, reduced bulk billing for mental health visits and cut use of Medicare mental health items following the federal government’s reduction in Better Access rebates, according to a Medical Observer-commissioned survey.

AML Alliance goes ahead with official launch

ITS predecessor, the AGPN, remains in corporate limbo, but that didn’t stop the new Medicare Locals body AML Alliance from pressing ahead with its official launch today.

Dementia gets national priority status at last

AFTER a lengthy campaign dementia has been designated the ninth National Health Priority Area by government, with stakeholders now calling for increased funding for research and services.

Keep calm, children’s health checks here to help

GPs will collect continuing professional development (CPD) points for completing training in the new-look children’s health checks, but will not be pressured to diagnose or meet arbitrary quotas, GP leaders have said.

BEACH to investigate GPs' unpaid work

BEACH to investigate GPs' unpaid work

General practice research program Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) is for the first time gathering information on how much time GPs spend on patient care outside Medicare-rebatable consultations.

Better Access 'still falls short'

EATING disorder groups have joined GPs in criticising the federal government’s partial reversal of cuts to Better Access MBS rebates, saying the move “still falls short” of what is needed.

GPs snubbed again in latest Better Access move

GPs have been dealt a fresh blow with the federal government partially backing down on its controversial cuts to the Better Access scheme by reinstating the available number of visits to psychologists but failing to reinstate GP rebates.

Mental Health Minister Mark Butler

Too late for public input into mental health cuts: adviser

A FORMER federal government mental health adviser who quit over cuts to MBS rebates has criticised the government for waiting until the cuts were in place before asking for public input into its 10-year mental health strategy.

Support for public consultation on mental health reform

DOCTORS have cautiously thrown their support behind a federal government move to test public opinion before embarking on a 10-year mental health reform “roadmap”.

NEW Health Minister Tanya Plibersek

Plibersek acknowledges GP's role

NEW Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, already swamped with demands from GP, consumer, pharmacy and industry groups, has acknowledged the central role of general practice in Australian healthcare.

GPs set to ditch Medicare Locals contract over board restrictions

GPs at a division awarded one of the first Medicare Locals contracts have warned the Federal Government that they will “walk away” from the deal if they are forced to give up control on their boards. Medical Observer understands the contracts, sent to many of the first 19 winning bidders in recent weeks, explicitly state the Medicare Local (ML) must have a board of 7–10 directors with no single profession dominating. NSW division, GP Access, is involved in one of the first tranche of MLs, and currently has six GPs among its eight ...

Calls for mental health rebate cuts to be reversed

FEDERAL Parliament has been urged to seek savings in programs such as the GP super clinics and Medicare Locals in order to save rebates for GP mental health plans which were slashed significantly in the recent Budget. In a letter to all Federal MPs and senators, the AMA has today requested the rebate cuts be axed, arguing that the decision was made with no prior consultation with the profession and would undermine the Government’s own push to bolster mental health services. The letter came as Mental Health Minister Mark Butler today repeated his claims that GPs were ...

Mental health access program failing the needy

A SENIOR Government adviser and mental health expert has warned that the contentious Better Access to Mental Health Care program has failed to meet its aims despite its ballooning costs. Professor Ian Hickie, a member of the Government's National Advisory Council on Mental Health and executive director of the University of Sydney's Brain & Mind Research Institute, has called on the Government to urgently overhaul the program. His comments, made on the ABC's AM program this morning, come as Mental Health Minister Mark Butler was set to release a long-awaited review of the program today. Professor ...

Minister fills mental health chair vacated by Mendoza

AUSTRALIA’S Mental Health Minister will step into the role of chair of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health (NACMH), MO has learned, bringing an end to months of speculation over the role. Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler will now replace former chair Professor John Mendoza, whose resignation in June sparked a national debate on the Federal Government’s commitment to the sector. Mr Butler will take the role on an interim basis, and intends to make a longer-term decision “pretty shortly”. He told Medical Observer : “I thought it was important ...

McGorry demands Govt take immediate action on mental health

McGorry demands Govt take immediate action on mental health

AUSTRALIAN of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry has laid down the gauntlet for the new Minister for Mental Health, saying the “time for talk” is over. Speaking on the ABC’s Lateline program last night, Professor McGorry said although there had been “positive interactions” with Minister Mark Butler who took office in September, government delays in implementing mental health reform were “inexcusable”. Professor McGorry called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to give Mr Butler her strong support to tackle the “incredible” scale of the problem. “The time for talk was over some time ago, and what we ...

Doctors’ groups adjust to new health portfolios

AFTER the drama of the backflips and notable absences from the Gillard Government’s ministerial line-up, doctors’ groups have spent this week renewing their relationship with those now holding health portfolios. Sparking the most vocal outcry was the decision to axe the portfolio of Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health, and Regional Services Delivery, which was held by Warren Snowdon. “Indigenous, rural and regional health is in a state of continuing crisis, and as such it continues to need a dedicated portfolio under a specific minister,” the RDAA warned early in the week. Such was the level ...

Govt moots tighter controls on therapeutic goods industry

TOUGHER regulation of the therapeutic goods industry is on the horizon with the Federal Government now pushing for a universal advertising code and more teeth for the TGA to deal with offenders.  Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mark Butler last week released a position paper warning the industry to get tough on poor advertising practices by 2012 or potentially face a federally-enforced code of conduct. Medicines Australia and the Generic Medicines Industry Association applauded the call but did not comment on whether they would review their codes.  Dr Ken Harvey, senior research fellow at La Trobe University, ...

Govt moots tighter controls on therapeutic goods industry

TOUGHER regulation of the therapeutic goods industry is on the horizon with the Federal Government now pushing for a universal advertising code and more teeth for the TGA to deal with offenders.  Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mark Butler last week released a position paper warning the industry to get tough on poor advertising practices by 2012 or potentially face a federally-enforced code of conduct. Medicines Australia and the Generic Medicines Industry Associ-ation applauded the call but did not comment on whether they would review their codes.  Dr Ken Harvey, senior research fellow at La Trobe University, ...

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