Australia’s peak body for psychologists has welcomed Bupa’s decision to reinstate the level of access servicing members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have to the expert care provided by psychologists, in a decision made this week.
Australian Psychological Society (APS) CEO Ms Frances Mirabelli said the move to reinstate psychologist’s fees for treating ADF personnel upholds the Australian Government’s ‘special duty’ to ensuring current and previously servicing defence personnel have proper access to mental health support.
“At a time when the Australian Government is talking about increasing community access to and affordability of essential psychological services, the decision to return to the previous fee schedule for psychologists upholds the principle of continuous access to the very best mental health support for the armed forces,” Ms Mirabelli said.
“We all know that community access is critical to ensuring the delivery of essential psychological services.
“Our nation has a special duty to provide the proper care and support for the people that serve our country and who, at times, face extraordinary risks, stressors and mental health challenges.
“This is a great outcome for defence personnel and the psychologists supporting their care and wellbeing.
“We owe it to the welfare of the men and women who put their commitment on the line for our national safety and security. We owe them uncompromised access to the very best mental health support.
“The APS is pleased to see both the ADF and Bupa working hard to support our members and strengthen the mental health support available to ADF personnel,” she said.
Bupa replaced Medibank as the ADF’s healthcare contractor from 1 July. The APS met with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) last week to better understand the contracted arrangements and share its members’ concerns about the fee schedule available to them under the new arrangement.