Despite being one of the most useful and practical psychiatric assessment, 291 assessments and their benefits are seldom known to GP’s. In simple terms, this is a ONE OFF assessment by a psychiatrist, to create a formulation and treatment plan for the patient, which is then forwarded to a GP for their action.
A 291 assessment is not a mental health care plan. It unfortunately is too often misunderstood to be this. A care plan is a mental health report prepared by the GP, so that the patient can access increased rebates on psychologist appointments. Contrary to popular belief, a Mental Health Care Plan is not a requirement for a 291 referral.
To book a 291 assessment, the GP simply needs to include in the referral that a one off assessment is required, or that a “291 assessment” is required.
We only have a limited number of 291 assessments available. It is important you realise that 291 assessments are not equivalent to bulk-billing psychiatrist care. It is a one off-assessment, and intended in cases where only a single assessment is indicated to help develop a plan for the the GP for ongoing treatment. This plan can be reviewed on one occasion each year.