Mental health nurses can help deliver the required world-class health care in Australia.
Thursday 2 February 2023
The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) agrees with the need for a fundamental rethink of the way in which health care is currently being delivered in Australia. ACMHN President Professor Michael Hazelton stresses that it is timely to also consider how mental health nurses (MHNs) could work in collaboration with GP practices to assist in meeting the growing demand for mental health care in that very important area of health care provision.
Federal Health Minister the Hon Mark Butler MP is reportedly considering initiatives to free up the ability of nurses, paramedics, allied health professionals, and pharmacists to "deliver world-class health care.”
Rethinking the role that MHNs could play in general practice would be a significant step in addressing the mental health needs of many Australians who currently struggle to access much needed help.
Individuals with mental health problems are the largest proportion of cases presenting to GPs, and a solution that incorporates MHNs ought to be considered as a way forward. A model for how this can be done, based on a revised and expanded version of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP), could be referred to as the Mental Health Nurse Access Program (MAP). Such a program could be delivered by MHNs whose qualifications and professional experience have been recognised through the ACMHN’s Credential for Professional Practice Program.
“We are presented with the opportunity for MHNs to help ‘change’ the existing system in the expansion of the role of nurses. Taking up this opportunity would provide additional, affordable help for many vulnerable people whose mental health needs are currently not being met,” said ACMHN President Professor Michael Hazelton.
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