Gaining Federal recognition

Wednesday 5 April 2023

The process of separation of office spaces and common equipment between Mental Health Australia and Australian College of Mental Health Nurses continues with updates to the ACMHN phone system to a VOIP Yealink system. Additional changes are occurring with IT and security systems over the coming weeks.

This exercise commenced last year and saw the ACMHN secure its own leased offices under a three-year contract. In effect, the College is taking on responsibility for office facilities separate to the historic relationship as a sub-lease through Mental Health Australia (MHA).

The ACMHN also joined a MHA organised policy session, to work out where there is current scope of work for input to the NDIS. Thanks to Sonia Miller and others in our team for completing initial work on NDIS feedback. The College would like to note Emma Coughlan and Ingrid Hatfield at MHA for their considerable policy work on behalf of member bodies.

Thanks also to our President, Professor Michael Hazelton, and ACMHN Media Officer, Sophie Howard, for their many weeks of work with our partner organisations including RANZCP, RACGP, and others regarding the NSW election manifesto. Taking an active stance in the recent election ensures the College has a voice at key moments.

The development of changes to our credentialing hierarchy is progressing well, with excellent scope work recently completed. We look forward to bringing you further updates on this and recognising the skills and experiences of mental health nurses.

The College also received excellent news regarding progression of Federal recognition of ‘Credentialed Mental Health Nurse’ (CMHN). Minister Butler’s Health Insurance (Professional Services Review – Allied Health, Primary Health Care and Others) Determination 2023 (Determination) has been approved and registered. This bill recognises the ACMHN and our key CMHN class of member. The legislation helps the College’s recognition, specifically with AHPRA, PSR, and Medicare, as part of the significant body of work and changes taking place for the first time in 40 years review.

I had meetings with the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHA) regarding work in the next couple of months on greater College engagement with DoHA. I look forward to updating you all on this work in the next editions of College Connections.

A positive meeting was held with Ray Griggs AO CSC, Secretary of the Department of Social Services (DSS) to further the ACMHN engagement, especially in community care which is core to DSS. Further meetings are booked with DSS working with areas in Disability and Carers and Families and Communities.

The College is also progressing positive discussions with Ali Drummond, CEO of Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), with a view of greater engagement for our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander communities. The ACMHN is working on implementing its own Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and will be working alongside CATSINaM and other bodies.

An exciting opportunity to provide outreach in the health sector to Indigenous communities has presented itself through Malpa, an established program where youngsters down to 10 years old are encouraged to consider a career as a doctor. The College looks forward to pursuing this with Malpa.

The College was invited, and has been accepted, as a member of the new National Nurse and Midwife Health Service (NNMHS) Advisory Group, an initiative of Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHA) and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF). This is alongside other organisations such as ACN.

I attended a workshop with key senior nursing leaders at ACT Health through the ACT Mental Health Workforce Strategy - Action Plan Workshop this week. It was a productive meeting and I look forward to meeting with them again for further discussions.

The WA Branch is working hard in preparation for the exciting 19 May symposium in Perth. Sincere thanks to all of the branch team on the solid work being done in this event.

We would like to thank the many people that have submitted abstracts for this year’s International Conference. The Scientific Committee is excited to report they have received over 110, high-quality abstracts. This combined with the number of first-time presenters who have submitted an abstract, bodes well for the growth of our professional sector.

Whilst this week and next week are shortened with the long weekend, the work continues. Sincere wishes for a wonderful Easter period for all. For those working, may the time go smoothly.

Yours in mental health

Adrian Armitage



mental health nursing

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