14 May 2021: The Australian Government’s announcement of $288.5 million in funding dedicated to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy in its latest Federal Budget has been welcomed by psychiatrist and one of the world’s foremost TMS experts, Professor Paul Fitzgerald.
TMS therapy is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique and has been used to treat Australian patients with depression and other mental health disorders for over 10 years with no funding assistance. The latest budget announcement towards rTMS therapy means more patients will have access to treatment across Australia covered by the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS).
Professor Fitzgerald has long recognised the benefits of TMS, running a funding campaign towards TMS research and leading the largest clinical TMS program in Australia for close to 20 years. The idea stemmed from a problem he found with patients with depression frequently not responding to antidepressant medication and TMS not being considered as a safe and effective treatment.
“There’s a sense of urgency that patients need an alternative treatment when antidepressants are no longer enough. Every patient also has the right to access treatment close to home,”