Policy initiative to improve access to psychological services for people with affective and anxiety disorders: Population-level analysis

Harris, Meredith G., Burgess, Philip M., Pirkis, Jane E., Slade, Tim N. and Whiteford, Harvey A. (2011) Policy initiative to improve access to psychological services for people with affective and anxiety disorders: Population-level analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 198 2: 99-108. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.109.073650


Author Harris, Meredith G.
Burgess, Philip M.
Pirkis, Jane E.
Slade, Tim N.
Whiteford, Harvey A.
Title Policy initiative to improve access to psychological services for people with affective and anxiety disorders: Population-level analysis
Journal name British Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0007-1250
1472-1465
Publication date 2011-02
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.073650
Volume 198
Issue 2
Start page 99
End page 108
Total pages 10
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Royal College of Psychiatrists
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: In 2006, Australia introduced new publicly funded psychological services for people with affective and anxiety disorders (the Better Access programme). Despite massive uptake, it has been suggested that Better Access is selectively treating socioeconomically advantaged people, including some who do not warrant treatment, and people already receiving equivalent services.
Aims: To explore potential disparities in Better Access treatment using epidemiological data from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Method: Logistic regression analyses examined patterns and correlates of service use in two populations: people who used the new psychological services in the previous 12 months; and people with any ICD-10 12-month affective and anxiety disorder, regardless of service use.
Results: Most (93.2%) Better Access psychological services users had a 12-month ICD-10 mental disorder or another indicator of treatment need. Better Access users without affective or anxiety disorders were not more socioeconomically advantaged, and received less treatment than those with these disorders. Among the population with affective or anxiety disorders, non-service users were less likely to have a severe disorder and more likely to have anxiety disorder, without a comorbid affective disorder, than Better Access users. Better Access users comprised more new allied healthcare recipients than other service users. A substantial minority of non-service users (13.5%) had severe disorders, but most did not perceive a need for treatment.
Conclusions: Better Access does not appear to be overservicing individuals without potential need or contributing to social inequalities in mental healthcare. It appears to be reaching people who have not previously received psychological care. Treatment rates could be improved for some people with anxiety disorders.
© 2011 The Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Keyword Psychological services
Anxiety disorder
Better Access programme
Affective disorder
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Originally published online Dec 15, 2010

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 02 Mar 2011, 14:24:26 EST by Geraldine Fitzgerald on behalf of School of Public Health