Australian Individuals, Carers, Families and loved ones affected by eating disorders welcome the announcement by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, of life-changing amendments to the Medicare Benefits Scheme to improve access and affordability of eating disorder treatments.

Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ) wholeheartedly support this new arrangement, and our clients can access the scheme under our new Medicare Arm, which is connected to the service.

Former Olympian Jana Pittman addresses a media press conference about her battle with an eating disorder. Photo: SMH.

General Manager, Belinda Chelius, who attended the announcement at Butterfly House in Sydney, urges all state governments to maintain and boost robust funding to NGOs across the departments of health, education and communities.

NGOs, like EDQ, are uniquely positioned to deliver biopsychosocial services to individuals, carers and families. Backed by 22 years expertise providing innovative programs driven by client needs, EDQ offers free services; counselling, therapeutic groups, support groups, community meal support, social connection and peer mentor programs, which reduces the significant financial burden of recovery. Hence, a healthily funded NGO sector is essential to maintain this work.

Lisa Kelly, Peer Worker and Senior mentor, said ‘I applaud the Government’s move, however, there is more work to be done. It was the holistic, client-based approach, offered by community-based eating disorder services, that motivated my recovery.

The new Medicare Benefits Scheme support for eating disorders commences on 1 November 2019, and includes:

  1. A dedicated single Medicare Benefits Scheme item number for eating disorder treatment for those with severe and complex illness, delivering 40 psychotherapeutic and 20 dietetic sessions, across the full range of eating disorders.
  2. A diagnosis by a GP recognising the need for integrated treatment.