Canberra is a healthy and well educated community, with the highest life expectancy across Australia. This reflects the longstanding priority the ACT Government has granted to Health service delivery, a record that continues in this Budget.
Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 2015
The Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Amendment Act 2014, which will commence in November 2015, will:
- require mental health services to support a person with mental illness or disorder to make their own decisions about the mental health treatment, care and support that they receive, when the person has the capacity to make those decisions;
- enable a person with mental illness or disorder to make advance agreements, advance consent directions, and nominations of persons to assist a person to make known their will and preferences, during their journey through mental health services; and
- require that people receive treatment, care and support that is the least restrictive of their liberty and is sensitive to their gender, disability, language, close personal relationships, and other personal attributes.
Funding for secure mental health unit
In the 2014-15 Budget, the ACT Government provided capital funding of $43.5 million for the construction of the Secure Mental Health Unit. The unit will include 25 beds, which will be opened in a staged process once the facility becomes operational. This will include 15 rehabilitation and 10 acute beds, which allows for growth in the need for secure care in the ACT. The facility is programmed to be complete and operational in late 2016.
For 2011-12, the proportion of people aged 16-64 years with mental or behavioural problems who were employed was 72.5% in the ACT, compared to the national average of 61.7%.
Mental Health Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
The ACT invests in community-based mental health services (both government and NGO provided) beyond any other Australian jurisdiction on a per capita basis. Mental Health NGO funding has grown from $11.7 million in 2011-12 to over $15.9 million in 2014-15. The ACT invests 73.3% of total mental health funding into community-based services compared to an Australian average of 53.4%. These NGOs provide a diverse range of services including referral, treatment, residential units, counselling and information for people with mental illness and their families.
Mobile Dental Clinic
The Mobile Dental Clinic provides preventative and restorative dental services from a purpose-built mobile dental facility. The Clinic provides services to some of Canberra's most vulnerable people and those who have restricted mobility such as the elderly. The Mobile Dental Clinic aims to reduce barriers to access, such as cost and transport, and increase the levels of preventative and early intervention treatments provided to vulnerable groups.
Community Health Services – walk-in services at Belconnen and Tuggeranong
The establishment of Belconnen Walk-in-Centre and relocation of the Canberra Walk-in-Centre to Tuggeranong, meets the Government's commitment to provide as many services as possible in the least invasive and most convenient locations for patients and their families and support networks. The Walk-in-Centres are designed to complement existing health services including both Emergency Departments and GPs. They provide free one-off advice and treatment for minor illnesses and injuries.