Medicare help to treat eating disorders

Australians with severe eating disorders will for the first time have access to 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 on Sunday.

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

“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 said the program would be introduced no matter who was in government after next year’s election because it was a Medicare item.

“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.