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General practitioners' perceptions of psychologists: A response to the Medicare changes in Australia

Dempsey, S.P. and Donaghue, N. (2009) General practitioners' perceptions of psychologists: A response to the Medicare changes in Australia. Australian Psychologist, 44 (4). 279 - 290.

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General practitioners (GPs) have historically been at the centre of primary health-care delivery in Australia, including delivery of mental health-care services. Recent changes, however, by the Australian Federal government have led to the creation of a number of mental health-care items provided by psychologists that are now available on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. The aim of the present study was to examine GPs' perceptions of psychologists and the ways in which GPs have responded to these policy changes in making referrals for mental health patients. Nine GPs were interviewed regarding the provision of mental health-care services. Analysis of the interviews indicated a number of themes including the benefits of the new Medicare policy in increasing accessibility of psychologists, GPs' frustrations with the bureaucracy surrounding the use of this policy, GPs' knowledge about the specific skills and training of psychologists, and the importance of GPs' matching patients and clinicians. Recommendations are made to facilitate the professional and clinical relationship between GPs and psychologists.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
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