Country South SA Medicare Local says it is extremely difficult to recruit and retain staff in the south-east.
In June, two mental health workers quit just seven months into their roles and a clinician involved with the GP shared care program has also left.
Country South SA Medicare Local chief executive Lincoln Size says uncertainty surrounding the replacement networks for Medicare Locals is a contributing factor.
He says there has also been a lack of growth in program funding allocations.
“It’s fair to say that recruiting for mental health clinicians in the south-east is difficult, whatever program we’re looking at, whether it be community mental health for state or our own programs we’re running from a federal point of view with our access to allied psychological services and the shared care program,” he said.
He says it is disruptive for patients.
“It is difficult to attract and retain mental health staff and even more so now when there is just this level of uncertainty with the Medicare Locals being defunded and the mental health review to be brought down in November this year,” he said.
“So essentially everyone is just in a holding pattern waiting.”
Country Health SA says it does not anticipate problems recruiting for a new mental health unit set to open at Mount Gambier Hospital next year.
This article first appeared on ‘ABC News’ on 16 September 2014.