RANZCP welcomes Coalition election commitment

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Victorian Chair, Dr Astha Tomar said this announcement is a significant achievement for the College and shows that parties are realising that a lot of work needs to be done to rebuild and support Victoria’s crumbling mental health system.

'We congratulate the Coalition on its timely commitment to boost investment in Victoria’s mental health sector and address workforce planning as one of the key priorities for this election. A skilled and experienced workforce 
of mental health practitioners will ensure that Victorians have access to the best possible care outcomes no matter where they live'.

'We also welcome the Coalition’s commitment to a concrete strategy for Victoria’s mental health sector reform, in line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System'.

Dr Tomar said that it is true that psychiatrists and patients are currently confronting a "broken system", aptly described by the Royal Commission.

'Victorians are waiting for three to six months to see a psychiatrist in the private health system, and the waiting times surge to twelve months in the public system. Mental health practitioners at the frontline are overworked 
and burnt out'.

'COVID-19 has further exposed the fault lines in the public mental health and wellbeing system. Its impact demands urgent interim measures to address the unmet demand for best available specialist clinical treatment and extend support within the frontline public mental health and wellbeing system'.

'The chronic and worsening workforce shortage within the system is affecting its ability to deliver best outcomes for consumers and carers and hindering the successful implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

'While announcements like these are incredibly important and the need of the hour, they are just starting points. Policies need a stream of continued investment and increasing government support to ensure their intent can be 

'The public mental health system will need more psychiatrists to deliver these commitments, such as to meet clinical needs and support additional training requirements and structures. Workforce planning needs to remain 
on the agenda throughout the term of the incoming Victorian Government'.

'Moreover, the incoming Victorian Government needs to ensure mental health infrastructure is designed based on best available evidence. Psychiatrists further seek commitments to improved and ongoing clinical research and evaluation of key care outcomes'.

'It is critical that all of this work occurs in collaboration with clinicians but also people with lived experience of mental illness'.

'RANZCP’s Victorian Branch is committed to working with and assisting the incoming Victorian Government and the Department of Health to develop more innovative solutions to stem the current workforce challenges', Dr 
Tomar said.

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 call +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org

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 www.ranzcp.org.

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

In Aotearoa New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, 1737 is here to help, for free - Mental Health. You can also contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or www.lifeline.org.nz/suicide-prevention.


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