Authors: Alan Rosen, NSW Barbara Hocking, VIC Keith Wilson, ACT Margaret Leggatt, VIC Douglas Holmes, NSW Roger Gurr, NSW Ann Deveson, NSW Grace Groom, ACT Fiona Stanley, WA Patrick McGorry, VIC Ian Hickie, NSW
Event: 2003 TheMHS Conference
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
To describe how the Mental Health Commission in New Zealand works and has contributed to the substantial enhancement of mental health resources and services.
To determine whether mental health reform policies will ever be implemented properly without an independent monitor with official clout at the highest levels of government.
To demonstrate how variants on this model work in other Western countries, and how it can be adapted to the Federated system in Australia.
The Mental Health Commission in New Zealand, its successful implementation and outcomes are described. The advantages for Australia of having a Mental Health Commission are explored, including those for Government.The perceived obstacles to its implementation in Australia are examined.
Advantages of a Mental Health Commission for Australia appear to outweigh the perceived obstacles.
Our recommendation is that the Australian National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008, should be complemented by a National Mental Health Commission (or similarly constituted body) with direct access to Australian Health Ministers, which is also able to report independently from and to the government. Its aims would be to monitor service effectiveness and identify gaps in service provision, training, and performance of work force, management and government, derived from consumer, carer and provider experience, and also informed by reviews of evidence-based research regarding health needs and cost effective services. It should accurately cost such service gaps, and advise government on a strategy for implementing them.