Tas Health Minister responds to our story on pysch ward crisis

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Tasmanian Minister for Health, Michael Ferguson, has provided the following statement in response to The Feed's story 'Dying for Help'.

Watch 'Dying for Help' above.

“The Government does not comment on individual patient cases.

“The Tasmanian Government is investing $95 million to build a better mental health system.

“We have a long-term Rethink Mental Health plan, which has unanimous support and is being implemented now.

“Over the past four years, we have provided millions of dollars in additional funding, boosting support for child and adolescent mental health and opening more community-based mental health beds.

“We will continue to deliver and improve services over the next six years, including 25 new mental health beds and specialist inpatient child and adolescent mental health facilities in the north and south of the state (LGH and RHH), for the first time ever in Tasmania. 

“The Government has also convened the Mental Health Integration Taskforce, chaired by the Chief Psychiatrist, which will provide expert advice on improving the integration of mental health services, including in primary and/or community-based settings. The Taskforce includes key mental health stakeholders and features GP representation.

“Acute mental health facilities at the Royal Hobart Hospital were subject to significant consultation through the work of the RHH Redevelopment Rescue Taskforce in 2014, which included a range of mental health clinicians, the Chief Psychiatrist at the time, mental health consumers and key stakeholders. The recommendations of the Taskforce specifically informed the $2.4 million ward redesign and outdoor space expansion, as well as the addition of more acute beds than originally agreed and planned for.

“All acute bed capacity reductions in previous years (Labor and Liberal) have been on professional advice, however, the Government is committed to ongoing consultation on Tasmania’s mental health system and facilities.

“It is important to note that the Fifth National Mental Health Plan and contemporary practice puts an emphasis on ensuring appropriate community-based mental health supports, rather than acute services, so that people can recover in what are often more comfortable and familiar settings, closer to their communities, and to improve their chances of avoiding hospitalisation.

“We know there is currently demand pressure on mental health services, but we are working to boost services and ensure mental health care can be provided in the right place at the right time.”

For information about Mental Health K-Block, please see this fact sheet/Q&A.

The Hon. Michael Ferguson MP is Minister for Health, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Minister for Science and Technology, and Leader of the House.

If you would like to talk to someone about your mental health, here are some people ready for your call: 

• SANE Australia Helpline 1800 18 SANE (7263) www.sane.org
• beyondblue support service line 1300 22 46 36
• Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au
• MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 www.mensline.org.au