Mental Health patients need specialised care

Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury’s ACT Budget announcement to improve Canberra’s mental health facilities is welcomed but does not go far enough to improve mental health services, Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne said.
“I am pleased that Minister Shane Rattenbury has conceded the ACT’s mental health facilities need significant improvements. However, Mr Rattenbury has a long way to go to improve Canberra’s mental health services,” Mrs Dunne said.
“The number of acute beds has not kept pace with population growth or the demand for mental health services. And so, Minister Rattenbury’s long overdue promise for more acute beds is welcomed, but certainly not enough.
“Mental health patients need more than just beds. They need specialised care that only qualified mental health professionals can provide.
“As far as we can tell, there are no permanent full-time psychiatrists at The Canberra Hospital’s Acute Mental Health Unit. Further, many Canberrans are travelling interstate to receive specialised treatment.
“This is a major point of concern. Patients will not get appropriate treatment if our mental health services remain chronically understaffed, and lacking in specialists.
“Of course, the culture of bullying and the unattractive work conditions in the ACT health system repels interstate health professionals.
“Minister Rattenbury, and Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris have allowed the bullying culture to fester, but if they were serious about improving our health and mental health services, they would stamp it out,” Mrs Dunne concluded.