The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses welcomes the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Health interim Report

Friday 29 November 2019


The ACMHN submission to the Royal Commission called for a more comprehensive and insightful response to workforce issues in mental health.


“The ACMHN Board of Directors and its Members acknowledge the work undertaken by the Commission and welcomes the recommendations made in the interim report,” said ACMHN Executive Director, Operations, Mr Stephen Jackson.

The following initiatives will play a significant role in improving the provision of mental health nursing in Victoria:


  • Postgraduate mental health nurse scholarships for 140 additional nurses each year to cover the full cost of study.
  • 135 additional acute inpatient public mental health or equivalent beds, with the majority of these delivered by the end of 2021, and the remainder by mid-2022[1].
  • 35 additional acute inpatient mental health or equivalent beds, procured by the end of 2021 from a private provider to deliver clinical treatment, care and support for public patients who would otherwise be treated in a public inpatient mental health unit.
  • Design and implementation (by the Victorian Government) of a new approach to mental health investment, including:
  • a new revenue mechanism (a levy or tax) for the provision of operational funding for mental health services, and
  • a dedicated capital investment fund for the mental health system.

The ACMHN supports recognition in the report that the design and establishment of proposed additional beds should:

  • be contemporary and co-designed with the of people with lived experience and provide high-quality care in a hospital setting, and
  • involve public, private and community health service partnerships.

The report also proposes that assertive outreach should be used to enable acute care in a home or community residence, where possible, as a direct substitute for an inpatient bed.


“The report is comprehensive and is a major step forward in addressing more than a decade of neglecting issues that have faced the mental health nursing workforce in Victoria,” continued Mr Jackson.


“We acknowledge that this is an interim report and that much work is yet to be done. We make the commitment that the College will work collaboratively towards further improving the plight of mental health clients in Victoria, and throughout Australia,” he said.


For further comment, please contact ACMHN Executive Director, Operations, Mr Stephen Jackson on 1300 667 079 or at stephen.jackson@acmhn.org.


[1] The beds will be proportionally provided to Barwon Health and to Melbourne Health, the latter in alliance with Western Health and Northern Health, using predicted population growth, forecast bed availability, socio-economic need and the availability of primary and community-based health services to determine demand.


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