EDV welcome groundbreaking changes to eating disorder treatment in Australia
In a historic announcement in Sydney yesterday, Minister for Health Greg Hunt, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, outlined that patients with severe eating disorders will now have access to up to 40 subsidised psychologist sessions and 20 dietitian sessions as of November 2019.
“It is a $110 million investment but it’s not the money. It’s the hope and the service and the recognition and the support. That’s what matters,” federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
This means that for the first time ever, individuals with severe eating disorders will have access to a comprehensive treatment plan through Medicare.
Eating Disorders Victoria CEO Jennifer Beveridge was in Sydney for the announcement.
“EDV have been working with individuals and families affected by eating disorders for over thirty years. This is undoubtedly the most significant step forward in the sector to date, and we commend the Minister for Health for his leadership on this issue.
We hear from individuals and their families in Victoria everyday who are struggling with the debilitating and devastating consequences of eating disorders. Part of this is the ongoing financial implication of accessing essential treatment services. Too many people are disengaging from treatment because the out of pocket expense is just too prohibitive.
This announcement changes that, and it will save lives.”
Ms Beveridge also noted how important this announcement was in acknowledging eating disorders as serious mental illnesses.
“For the first time there is acknowledgement through specific Medicare items that eating disorders warrant specialist care. The funding will also help reduce the stigma associated with eating disorders by highlighting that eating disorders are real and serious illnesses for many, many Australians.”
EDV also acknowledge the call by Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten for bipartisanship on the issue of eating disorders.
“It’s fantastic to see eating disorders are squarely on the agenda for both sides of federal politics. We are still in the process of speaking with the Victorian Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley about the funding of the Peer Mentoring Program here in Victoria, and we hope he takes the lead from his federal counterparts and prioritizes investment in this space ” Ms Beveridge said.
The medicare item number for eating disorders will introduced and funded, no matter who is in government next year.