• Stephen Dawson, Labor Member for Mining and Pastoral is calling on the State Government to accept all 21 recommendations from an inquiry into Western Australia’s Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS).
• The CBH Group Western Australia’s main grain handler has formed a partnership with the Black Dog Institute to develop a program of mental health services for grain growing communities.
• Rear Admiral Robyn Walker has clarified her recent comments on mental health but insists the causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are complicated.
The Health news on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 18th June 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
The Labor Member for Mining and Pastoral, Stephen Dawson, is calling on the State Government to accept all 21 recommendations from an inquiry into Western Australia’s Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS).
PATS subsidises travel for regional residents who need to attend specialist medical appointments more than 100 kilometres away.
The Standing Committee on Public Administration tabled its report in Parliament … [recently], recommending the subsidy for travel and accommodation be increased.
Mr Dawson, who is also a committee member, said it also recommended PATS be reviewed annually, the scope of medical services be expanded and appeals be better managed.
“At the moment people who need to go to Perth to receive medical treatment only get a subsidy of $60 a day.
“That is not enough and in fact $60 a day would often only buy you a bed in a youth hostel or a backpackers, so importantly the committee found that amount has to be increased significantly.”
The Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service said the inquiry risked being another “talkfest” unless its recommendations were acted upon.
CEO Henry Councillor said one of the committee’s most important findings was the lack of coordinated support for Aboriginal people.
“Nine times out of 10 these people are sitting in the airports waiting for instructions on where else to go and some of them can be sitting up there for hours,” he said.
Western Australia’s main grain handler, the CBH Group, has formed a partnership with the Black Dog Institute to develop a program of mental health services for grain growing communities.
The partnership will focus on the education of three groups within the communities, some training programs and workshops for health professionals, adolescents and growers and business owners in their workplaces.
CBH chief executive Andy Crane said the three-year partnership was a $450,000 commitment drawn from the co-operative’s community investment program.
“A recent survey of growers in early 2014 on how they wanted to see some of the funds focused and almost half our growers surveyed saw mental health as one of the highest priorities,” he said.
To access help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or use the Black Dog Institute’s online self-help tool My Compass, which is available at mycompass.org.au
The Defence Force’s highest ranking doctor has clarified her recent comments on mental health but insists the causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are complicated.
Commander of Joint Health Rear Admiral Robyn Walker came under fire from veterans after suggesting not all cases of PTSD were a result of service.
Earlier this year, the Rear Admiral was the subject of an online petition that attracted more than 8,000 signatures and hundreds of pages of comments demanding her removal over the statements.
Appearing before a parliamentary committee on Monday night, Rear Admiral Walker said her comments were misinterpreted.
“I really want it on the record that we have never intimated that we are blaming peoples childhood for post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans,” she said.
“But … clearly we need to understand the science, we need to understand the research.
“We are here to provide that treatment, we provide treatment for whatever the cause of it is and as it comes to DVA (the Department of Veterans Affairs) they will determine if it’s related to service.
“We provide that treatment to everybody in service. And we never abandon our people.”
Rear Admiral Walker also revealed more than 800 ADF members were treated for mental health over a recent 12-month period — with more than half returning to service.
“From July 2013 to June 2014 we had 813 members who undertook a rehabilitation program through the ADF rehabilitation program, who had a mental health condition as a primary diagnosis,” the Commander of Joint Health said.
“So that’s post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s depression it’s anxiety. And of those 421 — or 52 per cent — had a successful return to work.”
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