This is my Crikey Blog following this article
“Now that the rugby scrum of COAG is over and the dust is settling, it is becoming more clear that areas like mental health and aged care may not have done as well as advocates for these services would have liked. This process has been huge, and has been struggling to meet big goals. Despite what some commentators have said, the $5.4 billion is welcome in a system that desperately needs the money. The focus on increasing hospital beds is welcome if we are ever to get the pressure off Emergency Departments. But where are the extra doctors and nurses and allied health staff coming from to staff these beds - a very critical issue if we are to get better outcomes? And will these staff have sufficient skills to ensure quality of care?
Mental health advocates have every right to cry foul over this deal. Once again, mental health services have been treated as the poor relation. Is that because too much effort was put into taking advice from a small range of medical organisations throughout the process? Probably, I think. Governments and politicians must realise that health services are a complex, multi layered beast, and that there are many more professionals and professional organisations that should be consulted when changes are mooted . Community mental health teams in NSW are very run down and struggling along on minimal resources, doing the best they can. EDs are coping every day with mental health patients who should not be there, or not be there for as long as they are. Memo to politicians - mental health is just as important as physical health, perhaps even more so. Pay some attention to Ian Hickie and Patrick McGorry and the author of this article. Mental health services need more resources, now !!!”