Page 2733 - Week 09 - Thursday, 8 August 2013

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The ACT is mentioned favourably in the introduction to the report:

The example set by the Australian Capital Territory, as a somewhat discreet system, clearly shows that with strong and sustained political leadership, new investment, effective public administration and genuine engagement with the community, transformation of services can advance well within two terms of government.

This is what an independent analysis of the mental health service system is saying about the ACT. It also shows that the ACT is the fourth highest in per capita spending on mental health, the third highest in per capita spending on community mental health services not including the community, non-government sector and the highest for spending on community sector mental health overall.

The report also notes that the ACT had the best figures for seven-day follow-up following discharge from hospital and the lowest readmissions to hospital within 28 days of discharge. And that goes to the quality of care that is provided in the inpatient facility. The ACT was the only jurisdiction to achieve the COAG action plan 2006-11 agreed target of 75 per cent for seven-day follow-up discharge.

This shows the significant work that is underway in the mental health system. It shows that, with some commitment, new investment—and it did require significant investment of dollars—and a commitment of staff, you can improve a mental health system over a relatively short period.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, what else does the report highlight specifically as mental health initiatives that the ACT has put in place?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for the question. The appendix highlights a number of mental health initiatives that have been delivered through the review period—the three step up, step down residential facilities, which cover adolescent, youth and adult; the new Canberra Hospital adult mental health unit and the mental health assessment unit; the work that has been done on the review of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act; the mental health community policing initiative; and housing initiatives, including the housing and accommodation support initiative, also known as HASI.

I think what you also take from the report is that, while it is generally positive about the mental health reform that has taken place in the ACT, it is important to acknowledge that the purpose of the report was to highlight the need for mental health reform to remain at the forefront of national government work and consciousness through the COAG process.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, could you tell us what are the next steps for mental health reform in the ACT?

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