Implementation Plan for The National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008

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Mental Health and Illness

Australian Health Ministers, meeting in Alice Springs, acknowledged mental health as a priority and recognised the significant challenges facing each jurisdiction in providing an adequate response to people with mental illness.

Considering an item on the Implementation Plan for the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008, Ministers decided to ask the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee (AHMAC) to consider the findings of the recent national and state/territory reviews and inquiries into mental health, including the recommendations of the Palmer Inquiry.

Ministers agreed to continue to develop a new Second National Mental Health Policy in the light of these inquiries and reviews, building on the existing National Mental Health Policy.

They agreed to proceed with the Implementation Plan of the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008, and update this taking into account the above work.

This process will not impede implementation of existing state/territory and national plans and strategies.

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Ministers identified workforce as a key issue and asked that AHMAC address the following, as part of an updated National Mental Health Policy and Plan, focusing on areas of shortage and possible imbalance between the public and private sectors:

  • based on a policy of a sustainable domestic mental health workforce

  • attracting and retaining psychiatrists to rural areas,

  • ensuring adequate psychiatric workforce in public mental health services,

  • supporting GPs and other primary care clinicians to improve access to services for people with mental illness,

  • adequacy of supply and training of the mental health workforce, both public and private.

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