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Referring patients for psychological services – What GPs should know

It is a mandatory requirement and best practice for GPs to provide a letter when referring a patient for a psychological service. A GP MHTP alone is not considered a referral and therefore not sufficient for the psychologist to provide a service.

According to advice from Medicare Australia, legislation does not require that a referral be addressed to a named health professional. If a referral is addressed to one provider, the patient is not obligated to go to that particular practitioner. The patient can see another practitioner in the same discipline, provided they can provide the same psychological service.

For more information on communication requirements between referrers and providers of mental health services, refer to the GPMHSC Practice Guide: Communication between medical and mental health professionals.