Psychiatrists welcome new MBS inclusion for major depressive disorders

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has welcomed the Government’s announcement of $288.5 million to list Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) therapy for patients with medication resistant major depressive disorder.

RANZCP President, Associate Professor John Allan, supported the announcement that patients will now have access supported by Medicare to a wider range of treatments, specifically rTMS, for people for whom other treatments have not had the effect hoped for.

‘rTMS is a therapeutic, well tolerated, and safe, medical procedure for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, especially episodes of major depression’, explained Associate Professor Allan.

‘There is a good evidence base for the therapeutic efficacy of rTMS in major depressive disorder. Those with treatment resistant depression who respond to rTMS treatment will subsequently experience a lower burden of disease.

‘We strongly support the introduction of this service to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) following the recommendations from the independent Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC).’

Chair of the RANZCP Section of Electroconvulsive Therapy and Neurostimulation, Dr Salam Hussain, echoed the welcoming of the announcement including rTMS on the MBS.

‘Given the significant evidence for rTMS as an effective treatment for depression, and the clearly defined standards for the delivery of rTMS, we are pleased that it will now be accessible to more people through the MBS’, said Dr Hussain.

‘This is an important treatment that should be affordable and, where appropriate, offered as a therapeutic option for the treatment of major depression.

‘The Budget’s inclusion of rTMS to the MBS has provided many Australians, who are battling major depressive disorders, an affordable and accessible treatment pathway for those who have tried antidepressant medications or psychological therapy and remain unwell.

‘This is a big step forward for rTMS and we welcome the continued support from the government in facilitating the application of rTMS through the MBS and look forward to working with them in the implementation of this announcement.’

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