Victorian opposition fails to consider mental health nurses in newest election pledge

Wednesday 13 February 2022

On Tuesday, the Victorian opposition promised the ‘largest ever’ mental health recruitment if elected. With a strong focus on psychologists and psychiatrists, the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) believes the opposition has completely missed the mark by not considering qualified and skilled mental health nurses.

Whilst the ACMHN welcomed the financial support for those pursuing degrees in mental health, it would’ve liked to see an emphasis on tapping into the qualified mental health nurses workforce to tackle the shortage of mental health clinicians in the state.

“If we want better and more readily available mental health care for Victorians, the opposition must not overlook qualified mental health nurses,” ACMHN Interim President Professor John Hurley said.

“Those who want to study mental health nursing might benefit from this support, but after finishing their degrees they’re still unable to access a large number of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers.

“If the Victorian opposition cares for the mental health of the population, they should advocate with the Federal Government to give Credentialed Mental Health Nurses full access to the MBS, instead of just adding more training places for psychiatrists and psychologists,” he said.

Credentialed Mental Health Nurses have gained accreditation from the ACMHN based on their qualifications and experience in the field of mental health nursing, being adept in the assessment, treatment and intervention treatment of both physical and mental health issues.

“Their advanced education and skills are on par with other mental health professionals, and they are already fully trained and ready to help. The opposition would do well to recognise qualified mental health nurses and use them more actively in their strategies to battle the ongoing mental health clinical workforce shortage,” Professor Hurley said.

“The College is keen to work with all political parties to improve the standing of mental health nurses, and bring about policy change.”

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