Mental Health report paints damning picture of a broken system: WA Greens
14 November 2012
“Review of the admission or referral to and the discharge and transfer practices of public mental health facilities/services in Western Australia,” by Professor Bryant Stokes, July 2012.
Today’s release of the much-anticipated Stokes Report paints a damning picture of the state of mental health services for the State’s most vulnerable people who are in deep crisis, says WA Greens spokesperson for Mental Health Alison Xamon.
“The Stokes Report, the release of which the State Government has delayed since July, found that there is a critical shortage of acute mental health services,” Ms Xamon said.
“Professor Stokes found that “tensions in the current system are exacerbated by demand outstripping provision of acute inpatient facilities, step-down units and rehabilitation services.”
“This is consistent with what I have been hearing in my office from distressed people who see no improvement in services on the ground.
“Professor Stokes also highlighted the imperative to address inadequacies in the workforce and provide improved workforce training. The report shows that WA has one of the worst staff-patient ratios in the country, which shows how dangerous it is for this Government to continue to insist on a freeze in public service numbers.
“Clearly four years after this Government took office we still have a mental health system in crisis.
“We know there have been efforts to reform the mental health system with the establishment of a separate Mental Health Commission, Mental Health Minister, peak consumer body and a review of the Mental Health Act.
“But at the end of the day, this reform is meaningless if it does not translate to significant improvement in the delivery of front-line services.
“That people have died while trying unsuccessfully to access services, and despite their pleas for help, is not only deeply tragic, but a sign that we are looking at a system that is broken.
“This is not just a failure of the Barnett/Grylls Government, but a long-term failure of successive Governments, to invest in these critical health services.
“Mental health should be everybody’s business and it should be a priority for Government.
“This is an important review which has picked up the concerns that have been coming from the sector.
“The Government must commit a significant investment of funds as a matter of priority.”
Hon Alison Xamon MLC
Member for the East Metropolitan Region
Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051
Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931
Phone: (08) 9272 1718
Fax: (08) 9272 1719
Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services, Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering