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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4424..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

been initiated to improve service integration. One of these initiatives is the more consistent approach to referral management across all community adult mental health teams. This has improved the ability of service providers to ensure continuity of care.

A number of other strategies will be adopted to address this problem, which include having regular audits of practice by Mental Health ACT service providers, reviewing and enhancing partnerships with other health and community services in both the government and non-government sectors and improving the protocol for admission to and discharge from in-patient services.

Mental Health ACT has developed memoranda of understanding with related organisations, one mechanism by which to better integrate health services. This is particularly important, given the prevalence of clients suffering dual diagnosis problems. These clients cannot afford to face barriers to access between mental health services and alcohol and drug services.

To ensure complete transparency and promote the active engagement of stakeholders in relation to the risk report, I have taken several measures. A copy of the report has been placed on the ACT Health website. The general manager of Mental Health ACT has contacted stakeholder representatives about the report and will continue to work closely with them on the implementation of the recommendations.

The ongoing engagement of consumers, carers and other stakeholders will be possible through existing forums, such as the psychiatry service unit consultative forum, the ACT non-government providers network and consumer and carer reference groups. As I noted earlier, the report is one part of a more comprehensive response to concerns about mental health services in the ACT.

I am also tabling today a copy of the review of the quality framework conducted by ACT Health. This paper provides several clear recommendations on the changes needed in mental health services quality frameworks. These include enhancement of clinical governance and other quality improvement processes to ensure that quality and safety are given the highest priority in service delivery. The executive of Mental Health ACT is implementing these recommendations through the development of clinical and corporate governance frameworks.

The third component of reform is the development of a new strategic plan for mental health services. The consultants who will work with ACT stakeholders in developing the ACT mental health strategy and action plan have begun their work and will conduct community consultations in January next year.

The strategy and action plan will be released in May 2003 and will build on the commissioner's report and set the direction for the future of mental health services in the ACT. The strategy and action plan will develop a framework for resource allocation that addresses the full range of mental health needs across all geographical regions of Canberra. The plan will be developed following consultation with consumers, carers, service providers and other key stakeholders in the ACT.

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