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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4534 ..


draft accreditation report earlier this year. I am also pleased to advise that ACT Health and Canberra Health Services have been actively implementing contemporary best practice models of care for the emergency department in relation to mental health presentations.

As has been noted, the ACT leads the nation in its approach to having a mental health short-stay unit and the mental health assessment and consult liaison service located in the emergency department at the Canberra Hospital. These services support timely access for mental health treatment and also reduce the impact on access for non-mental health related emergency presentations. To further reduce ED demand in relation to mental health, a redesigned adult community mental health services model of care is being implemented. This will further increase access to timely mental health care in the community, to avoid conditions worsening to the extent that hospital-based care is the only option.

In addition, ACT Health funds important service partnerships with non-government organisations. As Mr Rattenbury noted, they are very important partners for the delivery of public health care in the ACT. These fund increased hospital diversion support through residential and non-residential step up, step down services. A significant impact will be seen in the community mental health policing initiative, where ACT Health fund mental health training for ACT Policing and Canberra Health Services mental health clinicians embedded in ACT Policing operations. These strategies enable first responders in ACT Policing to successfully manage mental health presentations away from the emergency department, where suitable.

As Mr Rattenbury noted, we had a very productive meeting with the College for Emergency Medicine recently, where the issue of presentations of mental health patients in the emergency department was a key topic. We really look forward to continuing that very productive conversation. As was also noted, ACT Health is currently developing a new strategy focused on the safety of nursing and midwifery staff in the workplace. As we know, mental health can be a challenging area of health services delivery, and that is why the new strategy will have a focus on areas where we need to improve, particularly in areas such as mental health.

We have been working with staff as well as industrial organisations—importantly, the ANMF—and other key stakeholders to develop the strategy. While we must ensure that staff are focused on caring for patients, it is also up to us to care for our staff. We expect the strategy to be released later this year. Further, we have been very pleased to have had discussions with the CEO of Canberra Health Services, in her first month, about developing an occupational violence strategy right across the organisation, which Minister Rattenbury referred to earlier in his statement.

As I have outlined, the government is implementing many leading initiatives in the area of mental health, and the government’s recent investments are a testament to our commitment to delivering high quality public mental health services. I am proud of the progress the government is making in supporting the mental health and the physical health of Canberrans—very often interlinked. Minister Rattenbury and I look forward to working closely together and with our community partners and members right across the delivery of public healthcare services in the ACT to make sure the


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