The Albanese Government is investing $27.5 million to expand the psychiatry workforce, ensuring all Australians regardless of where they live have better access to quality mental health care.
This funding will allow the Psychiatry Workforce Program to be extended for a further three years and brings total funding to $39.5 million since it began in February 2022.
The program encourages more medical graduates to pursue psychiatry, develops a rural psychiatry training pathway and network, and supports additional psychiatry training posts and supervisors.
Under the program, priority is given to areas with a high need for psychiatry services, including rural and regional Australia, and training posts that support First Nations trainees. The program is delivered by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
The Government has also committed $4.3 million for a free national psychiatry advice line to link GPs with psychiatrists to better support all Australians – especially those in rural and regional areas where there are additional barriers to accessing psychiatry care.
The national psychiatry advice line will start from 1 July 2023. GPs will be able to seek advice, at no cost to the practice or patient, from qualified psychiatrists between 7am-7pm (AEST), Monday to Friday, on a range of topics including mental health, safety, medication, psychosocial advice, treatment, diagnosis and referral pathways.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister, Emma McBride:
“All Australians should have access to mental health support, regardless of where they live.
“The national shortage of psychiatrists is particularly felt outside of the major cities.
“That’s why the Albanese Government is working to lift the mental health workforce, especially in rural and remote areas.
“There is also a critical need to do more in the primary care setting by better linking GPs with psychiatrists, so they have access to the best mental health advice for their patients.
“Equipping our GPs with knowledge and advice from expert psychiatrists will help them to better care for their patients.”