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The missing mental health nurses

By johnboy - 12 April 2012 6

Jeremy Hanson has seized upon the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare numbers on the mental health workforce:

This week’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare mental health workforce report shows that the ACT has the lowest number of mental health nurses per capita in the country. ACT Shadow Health Minister Jeremy Hanson said this is a disturbing finding, especially given that the ACT has the highest rates of mental and behavioural problems in Australia and the lowest number of GPs.

“Another aspect of the ACT’s health system has once again fallen to the worst in the country under Katy Gallagher’s management,” Mr Hanson said today

“Canberra already has the lowest number of GPs in the capita and now it has the lowest number of mental health nurses.

“According to the report, there were only 57 full time equivalent mental health nurses per 100,000 people in Canberra in the 2009 survey period. This in stark contrast to 84 mental health nurses per 100,000 in the Northern Territory.

“This is a disgraceful outcome; especially given the ACT has the highest rates of mental and behavioural problems in Australia.

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6 Responses to
The missing mental health nurses
Ben_Dover 3:16 pm 28 Apr 12
EvanJames 9:41 am 13 Apr 12

I can’t remember the specifics, but there’s some mess that’s recently happened with the funding for the training of MH nurses, resulting in few or none opting to enter the specialty.

The government keeps agonsing about skills crises and reacts by allowing business to import hundreds of thousands of cheap foreign workers, but you keep seeing situations like this, where obstacles are put up which prevent Australians from acquiring the skills needed.

Pity we never quite achieved the clever country. When the Chinese stop buying our dirt, what are we going to do?

SupaSal 4:50 pm 12 Apr 12

I am a Registered Nurse with mental health training and I can tell you I can not be paid enough to work in the Mental health Units due to personal safety – I understand that not all people with mental illness’ are aggressive but I have been wacked one too many times to know i’ve had enough!

Ben_Dover 3:52 pm 12 Apr 12

dazzab said :

I headed over to the new Mental Health Unit at Canberra Hospital a few weeks ago and was really impressed by the facilty.

Ditto.

You want to know the most scary thing though? A friend in the know tells me that over 70% of Canberra mental health nurses are aged 50 yrs plus, with a great number approaching retirement age.

dazzab 3:40 pm 12 Apr 12

I headed over to the new Mental Health Unit at Canberra Hospital a few weeks ago and was really impressed by the facilty. But the first thing I thought was how in the world were they going to staff it? It’s going to take a lot of staff to run a facility of that size and now I read this.

http://health.act.gov.au/c/health?a=&did=11151491

deejay 1:37 pm 12 Apr 12

No surprise here. I go to Sydney every month for mental health care. Fortunately I’m high-performing, employed, and on a good income with good personal leave allowances (thanks in no small part to said interstate healthcare). I feel sorry for the locals of fewer resources who have to wait nine months for an appointment with someone who may or may not be the right fit for their needs.

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