Mental Health Services Inadequate In Australian State

by Gopalan on  October 15, 2009 at 10:02 AM Mental Health News
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 Mental Health Services Inadequate In Australian State
The Western Australian Auditor General has slammed the state government over the condition of mental healthcare in the region.

The government has no cohesive plan for the delivery of mental health services, said Mr. Colin Murphy who had investigated the accessibility and effectiveness of adult mental health care services.

Mr Murphy tabled his report into WA's Community Mental Health Teams today in parliament.

The investigation started in February.

"It is not clear that the increased investment in community mental health is being targeted to the most effective services," Mr Murphy said.

The Auditor General's report, 'Adult Community Mental Health Teams: Availability, Accessibility and Effectiveness of Services' found that the care consumers receive depends more on where they live than their needs.

The report found that WA Health has improved its performance in contacting consumers after discharge from hospital when they are at higher risk of suicide, but it falls short of the national best practice benchmark which recommends contacting 90 per cent of consumers within seven days.

The examination identified a need to improve the levels of consumer and carer involvement and the consistency of care planning.

"Consumer involvement and ownership of their care is important to its success, but consumers and carers are not adequately involved in planning and reviewing care," said Mr Murphy.

"Good care planning is an essential part of effective care delivery, but over 20 per cent of consumers in our sample did not have a care plan."

The Mental Health Minister, Graham Jacobs said the Government welcomed the report needs to target its spending more wisely

"It's about doing things better, being smarter and doing it more efficiently."

"The Liberal-National Government is absolutely determined to improving services for Western Australians with a mental illness and those who support them," he said.

"The mental health sector is on the threshold of significant reform, with a 'Mental Health Strategic Plan 2010-2020 for WA' currently in development.

"The strategic plan will ensure all components of the mental health system - from acute inpatient beds through to community-based support - work together to provide a continuum of care that reflects the needs of consumers and carers.

"A number of the Auditor General's findings echo the outcomes of our own consumer consultations, and I anticipate that many of the issues raised by the Auditor General will be addressed in the strategic plan."

Dr Jacobs said the State Government was finalising the draft legislation, to be submitted to Parliament for the 2009 spring sitting, to establish a new statutory office of Commissioner for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

"The commissioner will help overcome some of the issues the Auditor General has raised by advocating on behalf of the mental health consumer community," he said.

"The commissioner will also monitor the implementation of the 'Mental Health Strategic Plan 2010-20 for WA', ensuring that it delivers for consumers."

The draft strategic plan will be submitted to the Government in January 2010.

Source: Medindia

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