RANZCP welcomes Labor election commitment to local mental health services

18 November 2022
 
 
 

The peak body for psychiatrists has welcomed Victorian Labor Party’s election commitment to deliver 50-60 new local mental health services but has noted ongoing concerns about lack of clinical workforce, especially psychiatrists, which will present major challenges to the success of services.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Victorian Chair, Dr Astha Tomar said:

'Psychiatrists are very supportive of the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Locals. It’s important to cater to the needs of each community, in particular when there is already a long wait of between three – six months to see a psychiatrist in the private health system'.

'We commend the commitment. It’s a significant and timely investment that helps deliver the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. This represents a significant achievement but will require continued investment to ensure its intent is able to be realised'.

‘To deliver this policy we’ll need to see extra support to increase our workforce. We can’t deliver better access without more psychiatrists'.

'We also need to ensure that any increase in the mental health workforce would have an adequate mix of skills to ensure we have suitable clinical expertise and capacity to support a growing workforce.

‘With the reform occurring in an evolving system of multiple moving parts, urgent interim measures are needed to support frontline inpatient and community mental health services'.

The increased pressure experienced on the frontline between the “broken system” described by the Royal Commission – in which our current workforce operates – together with the planning and realisation of future services – must be recognised.

'If immediate measures are not taken to address the current demands which impact the system’s capacity and workforce, then the system could get worse before it gets better'.

'A skilled and experienced workforce within (the community sector of) the Victorian public mental health and wellbeing system is essential and ensures Victorian’s have access to the best possible outcomes, wherever they live'.

'The chronic and worsening workforce shortage within the public mental health and wellbeing system is a major impediment to best outcomes for consumers and carers, in addition to achieving successful implementation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommendations', Dr Tomar said.

RANZCP Victorian Branch 2022 Victorian State Election Priorities: Improving the Mental Health and Wellbeing of the Victorian Community

Immediate priorities for action - what is needed here and now:

  1. Address the current unmet demand for specialist clinical treatment, care, and support within the public mental health and wellbeing system.
  2. Increase capacity to deliver and support accessible, safe and responsive spaces for consumers, carers and the workforce.
  3. Recruit and retain a skilled and experienced clinical workforce to work alongside people with lived experience within the mental health and wellbeing system.

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.