Politics Sector News — 05 August 2014

Mental health care provider Mind Australia said the State Government has cut funding from local support programs.bigstockphoto_Australian_Money_Background_2479434

After one week on the job, Mind Australia said locals may be placed on waiting lists due to a thinner spread of support funding resources.

Deputy chief executive Margaret Grigg said the same amount of funding had been allocated but some had been redirected to intake programs.

“There may be a needs register, waiting list. I am not sure if St Luke’s had one,” she said.

“The intake providers are creating needs registers. I don’t know what gaps or how long people will have to wait.

“We have managed the transition period but we are still trying to figure out how much money we have and what can be provided.

“Our priority has been to transition all the clients who wished to be transitioned to the new system. Now we have to wait and see, we haven’t seen what the needs are in the community and what the gaps are.“

Mind Australia, Care Connect with Life Without Barriers won the bid to deliver mental health services to the region earlier this year.

The organisation took over control as Greater Bendigo’s and Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Loddon, Macedon Ranges and Mt Alexander shires approved provider on August 1.

The consortium officially took over control last week following their transition period.

Dr Grigg said they were committed to developing programs for the local community.

“There is a new criteria to get into the service which might be harder especially which less choice, only two providers. St Luke’s had already understood the community and the services it needed,” she said.

“We need to watch very carefully what is happening and in the end there are finite resources. This is a big change, it will take time and we need to understand what is happening.

“It is important we have learnings about the gaps because inevitably the gaps will show.”

Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said this was a “new era of community mental health care in Bendigo and the Loddon Mallee”.

“These changes have been made so that our mental health system better enables adults and young people with mental illness to live independently, maintain the best possible social and emotional wellbeing and live satisfying lives in the community, regardless of where they live,” Ms Wooldridge said.

The State Government streamlined the delivery of services to 20 organisations across the state, with four in Loddon Mallee.

The “new era” provides tailored care programs, a single intake system, priority support, better youth rehabilitation services and localised information.

“The Napthine Government has increased funding for community mental health services by 30 per cent, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to building a better mental health system for all Victorians,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“Mental health services, families, carers and people with a mental illness have been calling for a change in community health services. These reforms will deliver improved access, increase quality of service and provide greater flexibility for clients across Victoria.”

This article first appeared on Bendigo Weekly on 4 August 2014.


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