Plans to force veterans to return to their doctors after 12 sessions have been postponed, amid concerns the changes may disadvantage returned service personnel with complex needs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs' treatment cycle initiative would restrict GP referrals to allied health services to up to 12 sessions or one year, whichever comes sooner, even for those with chronic health conditions.
Before, a doctor could make an ongoing referral for those with chronic problems.
The Australian Medical Association said moving to a treatment cycle would prevent "fragmentation of care and unnecessary duplication of services".
But the Australian Physiotherapy Association said the changes would make GPs the "gatekeepers" of veterans health care, and lead to gaps in service and extra out-of-pocket expenses.
Now Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester says the changes will be postponed from July 1 to October 1 to provide more time for the department to meet with stakeholders.
"We have listened to feedback from health professionals who deliver care to the veteran community about the need for more support to accompany the changes to allied health referral," Mr Chester said.
"[The department] has been instructed to work closely with allied health providers, GPs and the veteran community to ensure the new arrangements are properly communicated and implemented in a timely manner."
But Labor's veterans' affairs spokesman Shayne Neumann believed the delay showed there were serious problems with the transition to the new system.
"This last-minute backflip by the government on the start date shows it has failed to consult properly with veterans and health professionals," a spokesman for Mr Neumann said.
"Labor is pleased they are finally listening and hopes the delay will allow for proper communication and processes to be put in place to support the changes."
The opposition is concerned the move to treatment cycles could mean an extra visit to the GP every few weeks for veterans with high and complex needs, and result in gaps and delays in treatment.
"Labor believes the new system should be more flexible and veterans with complex cases should be exempted," he said.
Veterans support group Soldier On was concerned the changes could "impose unnecessary burdens on veterans, particularly those with complex and chronic conditions and may create barriers to accessing healthcare".
"The changes also read as though the GP has total control over treatment options, where collaboration between the veteran, GP and allied health provider would be the preferred model," a spokesman said.