New MBS listing to support patients with major depressive disorders

01 November 2021
 
 
 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) welcomes the listing of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) therapy on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

RANZCP President, Associate Professor Vinay Lakra, said this will increase access to a wider range of Medicare-supported treatment options for people with major depressive disorders.

‘This is especially good news for people who have not found satisfactory relief with other treatments such as anti-depressant medications and psychotherapy’, said Associate Professor Lakra.

The RANZCP began its advocacy for the funding of rTMS therapy through Medicare over a decade ago.

‘This is the culmination of a sustained effort and advocacy from many different parties including the RANZCP and its members’, said Associate Professor Lakra.

‘Many RANZCP members continue to lead the research and clinical service provision and provided active guidance towards the MBS listing of rTMS.’

Chair of the RANZCP Section of Electroconvulsive Therapy and Neurostimulation, Dr Salam Hussain, also welcomed enhanced access to this important treatment.

‘We strongly supported the Government’s May announcement to provide funding for this form of effective therapy and have been working closely with the Department of Health on its implementation ever since.

‘There is significant evidence for the use of rTMS as an effective and evidence-based treatment for depression and we are pleased Medicare funding is available for it to be provided by a psychiatrist with training in this area.

‘This will benefit a lot of people who are in severe distress.

‘It allows people who have not had rTMS therapy previously to receive up to 35 sessions for an initial course of treatment, and up to 15 rTMS services for a course of retreatment if this is effective for people who relapse – this is a great start.

‘We look forward to working with the Government to monitor and review its uptake to ensure the current service and eligibility parameters are of maximum benefit to meet the range of patient needs, in particular the group of patients who benefit from rTMS as ongoing treatment.’

We know that depression is a recurrent illness, and the RANZCP is keen to make sure that people with these medication-resistant major depressive disorders have access to effectively funded treatments to deal with multiple episodes of their illness through the course of their lives, if required.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call RANZCP Media on +61 (0)3 9640 0646 or +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.

In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

In New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or www.lifeline.org.nz/suicide-prevention.