Win! QNMU recommendation for Chief Mental Health Nurse included in government report

Published: 12 November 2021 

The Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention has released their final report and we are thrilled that many of the recommendations echo those made by the QNMU in our submission to the Committee.

Most notably, the Committee recommended the appointment of a Chief Mental Health Nurse to work alongside the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health – something we argued strongly for in our submission. 

The report also encourages states and territories to establish an equivalent mental health nursing position if they haven’t already done so. This is a huge step towards the government valuing the expertise of nurses in the mental health space.

The Committee also recommended that the Australian Government provide funding and other supports needed to immediately develop a national workforce institute for mental health. In this recommendation there is a strong focus on including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and lived experience expertise. 

Other important recommendations that echoed points outlined in the QNMU’s submission include:

Recommendation 11: The Australian Government provide funding for clinical placements in regional, rural and remote university clinics, and use these clinics to trial multidisciplinary, hybrid mental health hubs that integrate digital services and face-to-face services.
Recommendation 12: The Australian Government, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, engage with state and territory governments, education authorities, schools and tertiary institutions to increase visibility and promote careers in mental health and suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including students at high school and tertiary institutions.
Recommendation 13: Include in the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy:

  • suicide prevention training and standards for all health and allied health professionals
  • specific references to the workforce development requirements for suicide aftercare and postvention.

Recommendation 26: The Australian Government strengthen the independence of the National Mental Health Commission through law, with a designated task being to monitor and report on compliance by Primary Health Networks and Local Health Networks against their commitments. 
Recommendation 32: The Australian Government add Medicare Benefits Schedule items to support case conferencing to treat mental illness for health professional attendance (for example general practitioners, mental health nurses, and psychiatrists).

At this stage, these are just recommendations. It’s up to the Morrison Government to decide whether they accept and implement them through legislative changes. The QNMU will continue to lobby the federal government to ensure they adopt the recommendations. 

This report highlights the importance of the QNMU making such submissions on behalf of members.

Decisions made by governments have significant impact our professional lives, which is why it’s so important the QNMU continues to advocate and engage in the political process. 

It’s often through these submissions that we’re able to achieve significant wins for our members.