COAG Mental Health - Additional Education Places, Scholarships and Clinical Training in Mental Health

An additional 420 mental health nursing places, 200 clinical psychology places and 75 nursing and psychology scholarships annually will be an important foundation in strengthening Australia’s mental health workforce.

Page last updated: 09 May 2006

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Why is this important?

  • Major shortages exist in the mental health workforce, particularly in nursing, psychiatric nursing, psychiatry and clinical psychology. These shortages compromise the effective delivery of current services.
  • This measure will be an important foundation in strengthening the mental health workforce by delivering 420 additional mental health nursing places, and 200 clinical psychology places each year. In addition, the initiative funds an additional 75 scholarships annually for nursing and psychology.

Who will benefit?

  • There will be an increase in the numbers of mental health nurses and clinical psychologists trained.
  • Psychiatry trainees will get greater exposure to training outside of teaching hospitals by being also based in private practice and community settings. This will give them experience in the treatment of a wider variety of mental health disorders.
  • Scholarships will be available for nurses and clinical psychologists undertaking post-graduate training. More tertiary Commonwealth supported places will be made available for nurses and post-graduate clinical psychologists.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Mental Health package, as announced on 5 April 2006.
  • $103.5 million over five years will be used to support scholarships, additional places in universities for mental health nurses and psychologists, expand clinical training options for trainee psychiatrists and provide junior doctors with exposure to clinical training in the mental health area.

What have we done in the past?

  • Nurses wanting to train in mental health and psychologists who undertook postgraduate training in clinical psychology usually meet the cost of this study on their own. There has been limited access to postgraduate clinical training places for psychologists, although there has been considerable demand for places.
  • Psychiatry trainees undertook their training in acute teaching hospitals and exposure to conditions commonly seen in private practice and community settings was limited.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • The scholarships will be available for the commencement of the 2007 academic year.
  • Access to clinical training outside of teaching hospitals for junior doctors and psychiatry trainees will commence in 2007, with a phased implementation.

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