GP discussion on mental health system failings: our say into the Royal Commission
AMA Victoria Section of General Practice held an open meeting on Monday 3 April at AMA House for all general practitioner and registrar members to discuss the upcoming Victorian Government Royal Commission into Mental Health and explore both the issues for GPs and their patients and how we can ensure these are heard and dealt with by the Commission.
The meeting was well attended by general practitioners that work in a range of settings. Dr Bill Pring, Chair of AMAV Council and Member AMAV Section of Psychiatry provided insights into current mental health care needs and service provision and AMAV Senior Policy Advisor, Nada Martinovic provided an overview of the Commission’s work and the advocacy possibilities moving forward.
There was a resultant broad and deep discussion on the issues that GPs, patients and their carers face in getting the care that patients need in an effective, integrated, timely, holistic and quality way, with Associate Professor Julian Rait, AMAV President actively participating and listening to the discussion.
The themes of the challenges were recurring amongst the GPs and include:
- A public mental health care system that is poorly integrated, poorly accountable, communicates poorly, is not timely, is inefficient and hard to navigate for GPs, patients and carers
- Extremely limited ability to access psychiatrists for those without the ability to pay privately
- Lack of communication and care coordination with GPs
- Inability for GPs to be provided with timely secondary advice by psychiatrists
- Limited care provision for those with dual diagnosis, children, adolescence and eating disorders
- Lack of holistic, integrated cross sector services for vulnerable babies and children of parents with significant mental health issues
- Especially poor access to psychologists and psychiatrists in rural and remote areas
There was also discussion about the AMA Victoria response to the Royal Commission Terms of Reference survey (available to read online), as well as the proposed AMA models of outpatient care.
Crucially, we also had a constructive discussion about aspects we have experienced as working well at various times (e.g. teleconferencing, secondary support models for GPs and mental health nurses working in collaboration with GPs) and some solutions moving forward.
Member feedback provides a stronger platform for AMA Victoria to respond to the Royal Commission process. To ensure the voices of general practitioners and registrars are heard, the Section of General Practice intends to provide further input into AMAV’s advocacy positions as the Commission proceeds.
Any ideas, thoughts, or further interest can be directed to AMA Victoria Senior Policy Advisor, Nada Martinovic on firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr Ines Rio on email@example.com
To read our full submission to the Terms of Reference consultation, CLICK HERE.
All GPs and GP Registrars are warmly invited to AMAV GP Section meetings, which happen every second month on a Wednesday evening. Please email Nada or Ines to be placed on the email list for these.
Dr Ines Rio
A/Prof Ralph Audehm
AMA Victoria Section of General Practice