Changes to health services are a promising start, but more needs to be done: Response to WA Health System Governance Review

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) welcomes the outcome, but not without concerns, of the Independent Review of WA Health System Governance handed down to WA Parliament this morning. 

RANZCP notes there are many positive steps being taken including the embedding of lived experience, clinical and Aboriginal voices in the system. 

However, WA psychiatrists remain concerned that structurally, coordination will remain a challenge. Without integrated services under the same roof, there’s a risk West Australians will continue to fall through the gaps in the State’s mental health care system. 

Multidisciplinary care and access to the right help at the right time is the cornerstone of good patient outcomes and recovery model of care. To do this, RANZCP recommends greater coordination and cohesion and feels this needs to be the priority moving forward. 

RANZCP WA Chair Dr Mike Verheggen said, “The Government’s desire is to move to a recovery model. Psychiatrists have been advocating for a recovery oriented mental health system in WA for 20 years.”

“The single greatest barrier is system fragmentation. The people responsible for recovery are separated from the people providing clinical services and we’ve got to bridge those gaps.

“West Australians don’t get to take a look under the “governance hood”, but they certainly feel the effects of it when they need mental health care.

“When the system is disjointed, it makes it harder to get the mental health care you need.

“There’s a lot to welcome in the Government’s announcement today. Recovery is about ensuring people’s journey through the health system gets them the right help at the right time. 

“These changes take some promising steps forward in making both the Mental Health Commission and the Department of Health more accountable for the services they commission and deliver – and this will make a positive difference.”

“However, more needs to be done. Our mental health system will still have gaps, while the Department of Health remains responsible for commissioning and managing some services and the Mental Health Commission being responsible for the others.”

“The RANZCP WA Branch had been advocating for these changes for many years and we’ve been clear that coordination and accountability is the path forward. We’ll keep working with the Government to improve service linkages and ensure West Australians aren’t falling through any gaps in the system. 

“We really hope that the Government will continue working on this issue, so that West Australians have timely access to the mental health services and support they need.”


For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview email

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit

In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or

In New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or



More news & views