New report signals time for action to ensure better patient care

04 November 2021
 
 
 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has welcomed the final report of the Select Committee’s inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

‘This report brings together the findings from a raft of significant inquiries into mental health held in recent years’, said RANZCP President, Associate Professor Vinay Lakra.

‘Now we have consolidated the evidence base for reform, it is time for the Government to act decisively to benefit the mental health and wellbeing of our communities.

‘This will require the investment and resolve to implement lasting patient-centred improvements to the mental health system – there can be no more delay.’

There are 44 recommendations contained within the report which will require further detailed analysis, however at first glance the RANZCP is particularly pleased with the emphasis on workforce issues.

‘We commend the Committee’s recognition of the importance of engaging with the RANZCP to develop a comprehensive workforce strategy which will maximise the expert skills of psychiatrists and improve patient services’, said Associate Professor Lakra.

‘Increasing the throughput and distribution of the wider mental health workforce will be especially beneficial for people with complex and serious mental illness who need timely access to the expertise associated with high quality psychiatric care.

‘Likewise, the proposal to increase support for multidisciplinary teams and other clinical consultancy so health professionals can quickly access psychiatry expertise is a change we’ve long advocated for.’

The RANZCP applauds the focus on a national collection framework for data on mental health and suicide prevention and looks forward to contributing to the cross-jurisdictional working group.

‘The establishment of a central repository of current and comparable data from across jurisdictions is the first step in a much-needed move towards clinical registries.

‘The ready availability of this information is key for ongoing research efforts and service planning and delivery.

‘It will enhance our understanding of factors that contribute to quality care and better patient outcomes’, said Associate Professor Lakra.

The RANZCP emphasised that these recommendations needed to be urgently pressed into a set of well-funded reforms, which span health and non-health sectors, to provide accessible and affordable care for all Australians.

‘In the wake of a perfect storm of bushfires and pandemic, access to equitable, holistic and person-centred mental health care for people wherever they live, and whatever their needs, is an even greater priority.

‘This is a major area of public policy work which will have implications for many for years to come and we must get this right.’

The RANZCP looks forward to playing an active role in the implementation of reforms which will have a lasting positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of our communities well into the future.


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 RANZCP Media on +61 (0)3 9640 0646 or +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org.