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  1. 1

    jillian Horton

    It appears that the Federal Government and COAG are moving forward with health reform for medical health, but it is very sadly missing anything for mental health reform. Whilst mental health services continue to be decided upon and administered in a medical health forum, there will always be a concern as to how mental health will be supported. It would be a real reform to see the next COAG meeting, which is meant to focus on mental health, to consist not of the Health Ministers, but of the Mental Health Ministers. Alas not every State has a Mental Health Minster as yet, somethiing in itself which needs changing. These Ministers need to be in the deciding and negotiating position for mental health, not the health ministers. Maybe the newly appointed Mark Butler will work on this?
    There is also great concern that Medicare Locals will be very medical health oriented and primary health care reform will once again not include reform for primary care for mental health. It is time for two models to co-exist in the primary care sector: Medicare locals (if thats the way forward for community medical care) and an injection for funding into Community Health (or Life) Centres, which currently exist in some States, are not medically run or oriented. Such centres bring allied health and psychological health services together in a much broader context – and are not private concerns but funded by government.
    Mental health has remained so low in priority and focus that rather than being concerned about dividing services, lets just get mental health care on the map first and then see how it co-ordinates with medical care. Specialist Psychologists and Social Workers need to take the reins of mental health, to support our medical colleagues who are overwhelmed by the care required for the aging population and chronic dieases. And in turn this sector needs its own champions in Mental Health Ministers!

    Dr. Jillian Horton
    Clinical Psychologist
    Private practice WA

  2. 2

    aaron@Health Funds Australia

    The reforms and investments agreed by COAG, with the exception of Western Australia, will drive major improvements in service delivery and better health outcomes for Australians.


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