In late 2016, a number of Board, Committee and individual members attended consultation workshops and provided input to the College’s submission in response to the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan.
The College has now been advised by the Government that the timeline for completion of the plan has been extended until August 2017. In the meantime, there will be further targeted consultations which the College will be invited to participate in.
The College’s submission in December 2016 expressed support for a number of elements of the plan in principle but noted serious concerns about its heavy reliance on the newly established Primary Health Networks and Local Hospital Networks to solve long-standing national problems. The College also expressed concerns at the lack of attention paid to certain at-risk population groups and the absence of actions or strategies addressing key issues such as workforce capacity, rural health, prevention and early intervention and funding mechanisms.
The College will use the extended consultation time to engage further with the Commonwealth Government to advocate that reform of the Australian mental health system is supported by a comprehensive and robust plan.