More than 10 unfilled posts in Queensland is causing worry among health sector as risks in public health increase.
The posts have been vacant for some four years, prompting claims that patients' lives have been put at risk.
Numbers released by Queensland Health state the figures at 150 positions being unfilled across the district mental health service network, with at least 19 positions vacant for 12 months or longer.
"Mental health services are facing the same critical staff shortages as the broader health sector in meeting the future healthcare needs of the community. Queensland Health is making a concerted effort to improve the numbers and skill mix of our mental health workforce across all settings. Several key strategies have already been implemented targeting recruitment and retention, job redesign, education and training, and new ways of working." Member of Parliament said.
"You take the emergency and the crisis (patients) because you are only doing emergency and crisis work," said Mental Health Association of Queensland president Ian Hay. "The people that need case management and follow-up don't get it. They're constantly coming through emergency and crisis so you end up chasing your tail."
Mr Hay said the staff shortages were the result of fewer graduates and the difficulties in keeping experienced staff in regional areas.
More than 18 of the positions that remain unfilled are new jobs.
This calls for some urgent action as health of many people is at stake.