Referrals to a psychiatrists
A referral to a psychiatrist is necessary.
Referrals can be made by any medical practitioner.
Note that a referral from a medical specialist is only valid for 3 months whereas a referral from a general practitioner (GP) is valid for one year unless otherwise specified.
A referral is essential if you wish to claim a Medicare rebate.
It is also possible to see a psychiatrist for a ‘private session’ without a referral if you do not need to claim a Medicare rebate.
Referrals to a psychologists
It is not necessary to have a referral to a psychologist or a mental health social worker.
To claim a Medicare rebate, you need a written referral letter from your psychiatrist or a Mental Health Care Plan referral from your GP.
The referral is valid for up to 6 sessions prior to review by the GP. After review if the GP decides that further treatment is required, they may then write another referral for up to 4 more sessions.
A maximum of 10 Medicare rebateable sessions is available each calendar year.
From 9 October 2020 until 30 June 2022, 10 additional individual psychological therapy sessions, are now available each calendar year to all eligible patients under the existing Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative.