MHCA CEO's Weekly Update - 13 December

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This Week

Minister Dutton

This week MHCA Chair Jennifer Westacott and I met with Minister for Health, The Hon Peter Dutton. Following the Minister’s attendance at our Member’s Policy Forum, it was a good opportunity to raise a number of issues in some detail.  We had previously sent the Minister some draft terms of reference for the review that will be conducted by the National Mental Health Commission.  We stressed the need to balance the short term objective of reviewing current expenditure and programs with a broader look at what is needed to achieve substantial reform. The Minister indicated the final terms of reference for the review would be released shortly.  We spent the majority of our time discussing the development of the NDIS, and our concern that so many Commonwealth and State and Territory programs could be caught up in the NDIS as to leave nothing outside for those who do not qualify.  We also discussed the MHCA’s strategic vision to achieve the best mental health system in the world. 

NDIS Project Advisory Group Meeting

On Tuesday the MHCA NDIS Capacity Building Project Advisory Group met in Melbourne to discuss priority needs for the sector as we head into the second half of this project.  Details on the scheduling of various capacity building activities will be made available on the website as soon as possible early next year. In the meantime, our NDIS team wishes to thank the dozens of people who have contributed their time and expertise to the project so far.
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Queensland’s new locked door policy

Many of you will have seen the news that Queensland Health is introducing lock-up security measures in all Queensland mental health inpatient facilities. The MHCA will be writing to Queensland Minister for Health, Lawrence Springborg, about this human rights issue, joining the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and others in condemning the decision. 

Lifeline Ambassador - Steve Bastoni

Chris Wagner visited the set of the new Hollywood blockbuster The Water Diviner to catch up with Lifeline ambassador Steve Bastoni, who also supported our World Mental Health Day Campaign this year. Steve has experience as both a carer and consumer and you can read about his story below.
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While there, Chris popped into Russell Crowe’s trailer (as you do) and Russell (not Chris) added his signature to a Rabbitohs’ Jersey signed by the whole team in 2006, the year Russell bought the team, watch this space.

Building Connections

While in Sydney, Chris also caught up with Mindframe, the Batyr Foundation, by Inspire Foundation, the RUOK Day Foundation and the White Ribbon Foundation to discuss greater collaboration on communications and building capacity in the sector. Fostering greater connectivity is a strategic focus for the MHCA and the communications team is interested in bringing us all together to create a more powerful voice on mental health reform.

Review of Medicare Locals

The MHCA was invited this week to provide input to the Australian Government’s review of Medicare Locals. The review is aiming to ensure that funding for Medicare Locals is being spent as effectively and efficiently as possible. The terms of reference for the review (we could not yet find them online) include considering the performance of Medicare Locals in administering existing programs, ensuring Commonwealth funding supports clinical services rather than administration, assessing processes for determining market failure and service intervention and evaluating the practical interaction with Local Hospital Networks and health services. Our submission is due by 23 December and I will keep you up to date with any developments.



Final report of the National CMO Outcome Measurement Project

Of the many ways that organisations demonstrate the quality of their service provision, few methods are as recognised and effective as the use of well-designed outcome measurement tools. However, due to the research-intensive nature of tool development and fragmented funding and reporting, the outcome measurement activities of mental health CMOs have been poorly understood. Over the past 12 months the Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network and Community Mental Health Australia have been investigating this issue and their final report has now been released. The report has been designed to assist consumers, carers, CMOs and funders to understand why and how outcome measurement tools are used in community managed mental health services. Read More

Principles to promote better health

The Private Mental Health Alliance (PMHA) has launched a set of principles to promote better communication between providers of mental health services in the private sector. The principles will help support mental health professionals to collaborate, communicate and, where necessary, share care. Private sector organisations representing consumers and carers, GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, private psychiatric hospitals and private health insurers all collaborated in the development of the principles. More Info

MiNDbank launch

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a new online platform - MiNDbank. WHO MiNDbank is a product of the QualityRights Project, WHO’s flagship campaign to improve care and end human rights violations against people with mental health and psychosocial disabilities. The platform brings together key policies, strategies, laws and service standards for mental health, substance abuse, general health, disability, human rights and development. MiNDbank currently includes nearly 4000 documents and resources for more than 160 countries.  Download

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a paper outlining its approach to examining the scope of justice for victims. Along with this, the Royal Commission has also released an Issues Paper on Civil Litigation and is inviting members of the public to contribute ideas and expertise on the best ways to ensure justice for victims through redress. In other Royal Commission news, the first public hearing date for 2014 has been announced. The hearing will commence on January 28 and will inquire into the responses of The Salvation Army (Eastern Territory) to child sexual abuse within a number of its children’s homes. Read more

Seeking mental health leaders - nominate now

There’s still time to submit a nomination for the National Mental Health Commission’s consumer and carer leadership and development program. The Commission are seeking nominations from Australians with lived experience of mental health issues, either as a person living with mental illness or as a primary family member or other significant support person, to work with and contribute to their mission. Nominations close 5pm AEDT Friday 20 December 2013. Read more

Calling for an end to seclusion and restraint - declaration

The National Mental Health Commission is urging all Australians to call for an end to the seclusion and restraint of children and adults with mental health problems. Despite government agreement to act to reduce and where possible to eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint, it is still raised as an issue time and time again. The Commission is inviting people to sign a declaration and help to drive change on this important issue. Read more

Warm regards


Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

T: 02 6285 3100  |  M: 0409 655 460
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