- A nine-day stay in a hospital mental health unit costs the same as a community program supporting someone at home for a year.
- Canberra’s hospitals are facing an impossible task to reach the level expected of a first world health system, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned.
- Problems with the delivery of intravenous drips and other medical supplies to wards at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth are the subject of a State Government review.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 17th April 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
A nine-day stay in a hospital mental health unit costs the same as community program supporting someone at home for a year.
That is one of the major justifications authors of the National Mental Health Review have used to suggest moving funding from hospitals to community health.
A full copy of the review produced for the Federal Government has been published online.
The report by the National Mental Health Commission recommends a major overhaul of how the Commonwealth funds the sector.
Leaked versions of the document released earlier this week suggested setting a target to reduce suicides by half.
Overall, there would be no reduction in mental health funding.
But one of the report’s key recommendations is that part of the growth in hospital funding, totalling $1 billion, would be redirected to community health programs to keep people out of hospitals.
It notes it costs on average $10,000 for a nine-day stay in hospital, and this amount of money would enable a community health service to support a person for one year.
The report also says there is evidence that “far too many people” suffer worse mental and physical health because of the treatment that they receive “or are condemned to ongoing cycles of avoidable treatment and medications, including avoidable involuntary seclusion and restraint”.
Programs, it notes, are not set up to promote early intervention, and people need to inflict serious physical harm to gain access to support.
Australia is ranked second in OECD for anti-depressant consumption, while use of anti-psychotics had more than doubled.
The review raises concerns about a “missing middle” of people who fall through the gap between GP and hospital care.
Read the Report of the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services in full
Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley will discuss mental health funding when state and territory health ministers meet.
Canberra’s hospitals are facing an impossible task to reach the level expected of a first world health system, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned.
The latest snapshot of public hospital performance, released by the AMA, has given the ACT a mixed review.
The percentage of urgent cases seen within the recommended time has risen to 50 per cent, while fewer people are having to wait more than four hours to be seen in Canberra’s two emergency departments.
But Andrew Miller from the ACT branch of the AMA said despite the raised figures the territory is still below the benchmark on all measurements.
Dr Miller said a highlight from the report was waiting times for elective surgery. He suggested it showed what can be achieved with a concerted effort.
The AMA’s report warns of a “perfect storm” to hit Australian hospitals as a result of a tightening in Commonwealth funding, but Dr Miller says the ACT is unique in that regard.
“We are one of the only jurisdictions that is getting an increase in dollar terms over all of the projections … so that in 2017-18 we’re getting more money then we were in 2014-15,” he said.
But he agreed that the level of funding was still not enough.
Problems with the delivery of intravenous drips and other medical supplies to wards at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth are the subject of a State Government review.
Health Minister Kim Hames has acknowledged the issue, attributing it to coordination problems between non-clinical services provider Serco and the Department of Health.
Acting director-general of health Bryant Stokes said he was concerned not only with the ongoing issue of Serco’s handling of sterilisation services but also with the delivery of medical supplies.
“It’s the number and the timing of supplies coming to the hospital,” he said.
“They’re arriving on time but it’s whether they’re getting from the docks to the wards on time and all that sort of stuff.”
Professor Stokes said there were “certain plans” in place to address the sterilisation and medical supply problems with Dr Hames, but would not say what.
Dr Hames said the supply issue had been dealt with and “significantly improved”.
“The supplies are coming through fine, it’s just a matter of the methodology of ordering, and who’s in charge, and how it’s all working, and there’s some issues as to whose doing what,” he said.
He said Serco and the Department of Health were doing different aspects of the same part of the medical supplies contract.
Serco had until Friday to provide its proposal on how to improve sterilisation services, as the Government decided whether the company should retain that part of the non-clinical services contract.
Serco has been served with two breach of contract notices over the issue after sterilisation equipment was returned to operating theatres late and, in some cases, with blood and human tissue still visible.
The State Opposition has called for a parliamentary inquiry, after it was also revealed a patient was forced to use his own EpiPen after suffering anaphylactic shock.
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