Report Tracks Trends in Mental Health Services
The National Mental Health Report 2010 shows that total spending on mental health services by governments and private health insurers rose by 10 per cent in real terms in 2007-08 to $5.32 billion.
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6 December 2010
The release today of the National Mental Health Report 2010 showed that total spending on mental health services by governments and private health insurers rose by 10 per cent in real terms in 2007-08 to $5.32 billion.
The increase – the largest since the National Mental Health Strategy began in 1993 - is detailed in the National Mental Health Report 2010 released by Minister for Health and Ageing Mark Butler.
The Report summarises trends and performance in mental health services from the start of the Strategy to mid 2008 and found that total spending by governments on mental health increased by 137 per cent between 1993 and 2008. The Report also showed that Federal Government spending in the area increased by 201 per cent, equivalent to $1.3 billion, while state and territory spending increased by 110 per cent or $1.7 billion.
Minister Butler said that the Report shows all governments realise the importance of mental health services and the need for investment. Mental health accounted for 7.0 per cent of total expenditure on health care and 7.5 per cent of government health spending in 2007-08.
“It is important to remember that this report is about past activity, but is a detailed reflection on trends and performance and delivers some significant findings. The Report tells us two valuable things – how mental health reform is tracking and where the gaps we need to focus on are to make real improvements in mental health care for consumers, their carers and the broader community.”
Minister Butler said the major findings illustrate:
- the number of hospital beds for mental health patients increased by 8 per cent from 2003 to 2008, reversing the steady decline of the previous 10 years,
- growth of the clinical mental health workforce accelerated between 2003 and 2008,
- funding by state and territory governments to non-government organisations for mental health services also increased over this period,
- all types of mental health services in all states and territories experienced demand pressures, but especially acute and emergency care,
- disparities continue between states and territories in the mix and level of service and levels of spending on mental health,
- continuing shortages of mental health workers, especially nurses, affected both the quantity and quality of care.
“We know however there is more to do,” he said.
“We will be taking into account the lessons that have been learned from the previous National Mental Health Plans, and we intend to do better.”
“At present I am undertaking forums around Australia with mental health consumers and carers to hear their perspectives first-hand on mental health care and this will provide valuable information to inform future policy.
“The Gillard Labor Government is committed to ensuring Australia has a sustainable and effective mental health system.”
The National Mental Health Report 2010 can be found at the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing website
For more information, please contact Mr Butler’s office on 02 6277 7280
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