I watched a 4Corner’s programme titled Hidden Voices last night, which looked at issues faced by people living with mental disorders in regional Australia in particular around service gaps. The topic of mental health holds some personal and professional interest, and I found aspects of this programme at some levels misleading.
- In highlighting the Mackay Division of General practice as somehow the principal provider of quality mental health services in this region seemed questionable or even self-serving on the part of participants.
- The Division is a an industry lobbyist for General Practitioner & service provider in its own right.
- In a population of 140, 000, 70% of whom experience some form of mental disorder these stats seem inflated
- Healthcare in Australia has a tradition of private & public provision, with extensive public funding of both equally.
- This programme sort to further a false dichotomy around the difference in the quality of services between public and private providers
- When professionals often work in both sectors simultaneous for multiple organisations, does this mean their quality of service differs depending on who pays.
It was simply a polished example of squeaky wheel politics in advancing the political agenda of the Division of General Practice during an election year. The programme was heavy on criticism and light on solutions, in seeking it seems to make further demands on public funding of private sector health.
Self described as a partnership of government, non-government and private mental health service providers, consumers and carers who work in collaboration to improve mental health outcomes for people living with mental illness and their carers across the Mackay region.
This may be the mechanism required to
- Give political impetus to bring about a change process
- Build strategic partnerships across whole of community and government
- Identify and articulate service gaps
- develop strategies to address service gaps
- Advocate for resources
What is stopping them, may be you need to look at who is sitting at the table