$110m for eating disorders

Patients with severe eating disorders can access a pool of $110 million for the first time for a comprehensive treatment plan under Medicare.

“It is $110 million investment but above all else it is about providing the services for each person when they need it, where they need it for the first time on any scale such as this,” federal Health Minister Greg Hunt told Nine recently.

Patients will be able to access up to 40 psychological services and 20 dietetic services each year, under Medicare, from November next year, NIne reports.

“It is not only the largest single step forward for eating disorders, it is the first time there has ever been a dedicated eating disorders item or set of treatment services available under Medicare,” Mr Hunt said.

He says the program would be introduced no matter who was in government after next year’s election because it was a Medicare item, Nine reports.

“It is budgeted, it is funded, it is committed and it will be in place no matter who is in government.”

The government says eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness, with anorexia by far the deadliest mental health condition in Australia.

Around one million Australians live with an eating disorder.

This $110.7 million investment into Medicare will benefit around 30,000 people each year living with the disorders, helping them to get better and stay out of hospital, Nine reports.