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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 26 September 2019) . . Page.. 4070 ..


(2) As noted, there are a range of actions in this area of the risk register that are identified for the Canberra Hospital. As part of these actions, an escalation plan has already been drafted that, while currently subject to internal consultation, will help to guide decisions and priorities in relation to expanding the available bed base.

In addition to this plan for the Canberra Hospital, a Territory Wide Mental Health Management Committee has been established to provide strategic and executive oversight of all public mental health activity. This Committee is chaired by the Chief Psychiatrist and includes senior representation from the ACT Health Directorate, Canberra Health Services, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce and the Office of Mental Health and Wellbeing. The Committee is responsible for considering the management of demand and future strategic directions of public mental health services in the ACT.

There is also a range of strategic and operational initiatives currently underway in the Canberra Hospital and across the ACT’s health system to address the wait times and demand for access to mental health services, in both the short and long term. These initiatives include:

In May 2019 an ACT Mental Health Access Coordinator role was established to coordinate bed management for adult acute mental health services. This includes a liaison role with Calvary Public Hospital Bruce. A discharge liaison nurse position has also been established to support discharge planning.

In July 2019 a full-time consultant psychiatrist was dedicated to the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department, to facilitate early review and re-review of patients to support discharge or timely admission to the most appropriate bed.

A review of the Acute Mental Health Service Model of Care is planned to commence in September 2019. The review will consider all existing capacity within all ACT mental health services, including Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, and the interfaces between these areas.

Access to beds in the Canberra Hospital has already been increased through the allocation of four beds on one of the general wards to accommodate patients during periods of high demand. Operational procedures support allocation practices based on risk assessment and the safe management of patients allocated to these beds.

The Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit at the University of Canberra Hospital has established a sub-acute pathway providing access to a five-bed pod for patients who do not fit the criteria for the rehabilitation pathway but require longer admission and can be safely cared for in an open unit. Operational guidelines have been developed to support referral and transfer.

The ACT Government has already committed to a number of initiatives in the 2019-20 ACT Budget to improve access to mental health care in the ACT. These include funding for:


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