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Estimates: National Mental Health Commission's review of mental health services

Estimates & Committees
Penny Wright 26 Feb 2014

Senator Wright asks questions about the National Mental Health Commission's review of mental health services during Senate Estimates. 

Senator WRIGHT: I have various questions for this area, but only a couple for the Mental Health Commission. We know the National Mental Health Commission's review has now publicly available terms of reference. They detail the review's focus on efficiency. The final report will be provided to government by 30 November 2014. I am interested to know three things. First, what is the commission's plan for engagement with the mental health sector in the course of this review?

Mr Butt: This piece of work that the commission is doing is quite different to the previous work over the past couple of years, where we ran very public processes in engagement. This piece of work has been tasked by the government to be a process that looks at the whole system over the next few months and reports in November. What we will be doing is building on the consultations that were done over the past two years in terms of the report cards because we have got a lot of feedback from people—in particular, carers and consumers—about their experiences, their expectations and so forth. The general view is that they feel they have been consulted enough and they want to see action. We will also be asking for public submissions. We will be going out next month to ask for submissions in relation to the terms of reference and we will be doing targeted consultations with various groups.

Senator WRIGHT: What groups might they be?

Mr Butt: They include organisations such as the Mental Health Council of Australia, the carers and consumers I am meeting with next month, psychologist associations and various provider groups et cetera.

Senator WRIGHT: You are still in the process of working out—

Mr Butt: We are still in the process of planning; we have only really just started.

Senator WRIGHT: That essentially answered my next question which was: will formal submissions be requested in relation to the review? Will they be published?

Mr Butt: I would have to check that. The intent was to go out and ask for submissions in relation to the key areas of efficiency, effectiveness, gaps in services, duplication and red tape. We will be going out in a targeted call for submissions. We have got the terms of reference on our website. We will also be accepting unsolicited submissions as well. Whether they will be made public is something I would have to check but we will certainly be doing a summary of them.

Senator WRIGHT: It will certainly be of interest to people in the public to see what other people are saying, would it not? Is that all you can tell me at the moment about the kind of consultation process that will take place? Is there anything else?

Mr Butt: It is early days. We have done our project planning. We have some initial priorities that we are working on. I should add that we will be doing a lot of work with the states and territories because they are fundamental in terms of the overall national mental health system.


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