6 December 2019
Veteran access to psychological and psychiatric services has been significantly improved after advocacy by Senator Rex Patrick to Government during the passage of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Single Treatment Pathway) Bill 2019 through the Parliament.
Currently, a member of the Defence Force could retire for mental health reasons and find that they cannot continue their treatment simply because they have been discharged. This negatively impacts a veteran's continuity of mental health care, which risked devastating consequences.
Likewise, many veterans with long standing complex mental health issues are forced to travel long distances to see a physician that accepts the Department of Veterans’ Affairs rate, where a local physician will not.
"After extensive discussion between the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and I, the Government has agreed to significantly improved access to necessary health care", said Senator Rex Patrick.
"From early 2020 veterans unable to access a mental health professional provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will instead be able to access other health professionals through the Defence health contract".
"People who have served in the Australian Defence Force deserve the best possible care, and this includes mental health care. Change advocated by me will remedy problems previously caused by the current arrangements”.
"The result is that veterans' access to mental health services has been significantly improved as a result of my successful advocacy."
"This is a big win for our veterans suffering from mental health issues and their families."