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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, made a speech in the Federal Parliament to highlight some of the health care hurdles still confronting veterans.

“I regularly hear stories from veterans, their families and their loved ones,” Mr Wilkie said. “And all too often these stories detail problems veterans face when accessing the health and mental health care they desperately need.

“For example, last year I met with the Tasmanian Branch President of the Australian Physiotherapy Association who highlighted the inequity between DVA and other Government rebates. He told me that in his practice, all initial consultations are at least 45 minutes with NDIS paying $168.45 and private patients paying $164.50 for this service. Unfortunately, the DVA fee is stuck at $70.80 regardless of the time spent with veterans in the initial consult, with no ability to charge a gap fee. The result is that 26 per cent of physiotherapists in Australia have already limited or stopped providing services to DVA clients.

“Moreover I recently heard from a DVA Gold Card holder who had been told by his GP that, because the DVA rebate didn’t cover the cost of providing care, they would only see him as a private patient in the future.

“There’s also the lack of harmonisation between federal and state government laws. For example, last year the Therapeutic Goods Administration permitted medicines containing MDMA and psilocybin to be prescribed by authorised psychiatrists for people with certain mental health conditions, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and treatment-resistant depression, two conditions experienced at higher rates by veterans. But some states, including Tasmania, are yet to update their legislation, so while the treatment is legal federally, it cannot be prescribed.

“Clearly the Federal Government is still not doing enough to support veterans. Addressing the sorts of issues I’ve highlighted today would be a good start.”