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The Greens on mental health

By johnboy - 22 July 2009 13

Last week the Greens’ Amanda Bresnan announced that she was releasing a “discussion paper on how the ACT can progress to the next paradigm in mental health services”.

(Come back! come back! I promise we won’t allow the “p word” to sully the front page again this month.)

Today the discussion paper has actually gone online so we can now comment about it.

It’s a substantial document, here’s the vision statement:

    The Green’s vision is of a mental health system that:

    — is centred on and driven by the needs of the consumer;
    — supports carers and families in supporting consumers when needed;
    — focuses on reducing the frequency and intensity of crises; and
    — provides help and support where it is needed.

To get there they’re proposing spending 12% of the health budget on mental health.

Resources not being infinite what areas of health spending would you support cutting to make way for this increased spend on mental health?

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
The Greens on mental health
Hells_Bells74 8:43 am 23 Jul 09

That would be laughable if not almost true, can maybe see why you’re an ‘ex’ nurse then?

ex-nurse 7:57 am 23 Jul 09

How the savings would be spent;

10% on senior managers salaries
30% on trips for managers to other states, to investigate the systems for generating paperwork they have.
10% on meetings to discuss what new paperwork can be generated for clinicians.
20% on a new IT system to manage the new questionnaires, forms, information sheets that will become compulsory for clinicians to use.
10% On new managers to implement and train clinicians in the revised changes.
10% On training managers in accrediting clinicians in their use of the new IT systems/paperwork.
10% on meetings for senior managers to assess the impact of the changes and generate even more new paperwork for clinicians.
9.99% On consultants to review the changes in light of new government guidelines, and to generate new paperwork for clinicians.
0.01% on one new nurse. (Part time.)

housebound 8:46 pm 22 Jul 09

Sorry. I’ll try harder next time.

astrojax 7:36 pm 22 Jul 09

Hey, does this qualify as a rant?

you got ‘public art’ in, so why yes!

otherwise, you made far too much sense for ‘rant’ status. and there weren’t EVEN ANY CAPITALS AND STUFF AND NOT MUCH PUNCTUATION AND SIMPLE GRAMMATICAL ERRORS LIKE…

Deadmandrinking 1:57 pm 22 Jul 09

housebound said :

Only half a day?

I was lucky. But it was packed with people trying to get their certificates for monday, like me.

emd 1:27 pm 22 Jul 09

Jimbocool is right, spend 12% in primary care mental health and the ACT would save a bucketload in crisis/acute health costs now and into the future.

The same applies to maternity care, and general healthcare. Put the funding into primary care through preventative health programs, midwives, and GPs and the hospitals will cost less.

miz 1:25 pm 22 Jul 09

Sounds good – ‘driven by the needs of the consumer’ is where there have been so many problems, given that ental health often presents as just part of an entire package of problems that need addressing in a coordinated manner. Eg, mental health and drug and/or alcohol, mental health and criminal behaviour, mental health and family violence.

housebound 1:10 pm 22 Jul 09

Only half a day?

harley 12:34 pm 22 Jul 09

It’s OK, jb, you cannot be held responsible for quoting ‘paradigm’

Deadmandrinking 12:26 pm 22 Jul 09

housebound said :

Oh, and I could add in the $50 million for more GPs in Belconnen Town Centre, when there are already several medical practices in that area, and not enough in the districts.

Hear hear. It’s hard to get a GP anywhere in this town and when I was in the Ginnenderra Medical Centre on Monday, I spent half the day in the waiting room.

jimbocool 12:21 pm 22 Jul 09

the money part is easy – boost mental health spending and you will save a whole heap in other areas of health as many people with mental health issues have a whole range of co-morbities that aren’t treated until crisis stage.

As for the policy itself, it’s not too bad. A bit naive in places perhaps, and doesn’t (on my quick read at least) talk about the need for secure residential care. Nor did it seem to look at the role of psychiatrists. Support workers, CATT teams and the like are all great, but the underlying problem is lack of access to psychiatrists and proper therapy.

housebound 11:51 am 22 Jul 09

Oh, and I could add in the $50 million for more GPs in Belconnen Town Centre, when there are already several medical practices in that area, and not enough in the districts.

housebound 11:50 am 22 Jul 09

This is a long overdue initiative, but I don’t hold out much hope for the bureaucracy to want to implement something it didn’t think of itself, espcially since it has not performed well in recent years.

As for savings, easy:
– hold off the $100 million calvary purchase until better times
– hold off the $90 million women and children’s hospital – actually, just use the half of it that is slated for offices (that’s right – no new maternity beds) for mental health (maybe not on the same floor)
– ask whether we need to spend $10 million on a climate change department that thinks proceeeding with old initiatives justifies its existence
– stop moving ACT departments every 2 to 3 years just for the fun of it
– public art
– re-open Griffith Library instead of spending more to try to plaster over the mistake of closing it (and don’t even get me started on schools, GDE etc etc)
– reduce government advertising

Even if 12% is ambitious, it puts a failing system on notice. A sad possibility that the government could just spend the money like dollops of ice cream, without thinking about whether it will last past the first hot day.

Hey, does this qualify as a rant?

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