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The Forum > Article Comments > Severe Cases Only: Apply Within > Comments

Severe Cases Only: Apply Within : Comments

By Noelle Graham, published 22/4/2010

Letís not be quiet about this. Itís been swept under the rug for long enough. Itís time to make some noise.

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The political rot on mental health first set in, around 1985 when state governments decided that deinstitutionalization was a good idea.

It was a good idea, because of the dollar signs, flashed in front of politican eyes. It was promised that the amount of community support would be increased, but like all politcal promises, it was full of hot air.
Posted by JamesH, Thursday, 22 April 2010 9:35:44 AM
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What amazes me is the fabulous amounts of money for so few Beds .
Something is wrong with their Philosophy for example in Bendigo they cleared a large area between the Anne Caudel Center and the Base Hospital the Ambulance Station was relocated as were private Holmes and other private Enterprises , Then the end result , big hoopla in the local Rag and on TV.......FIVE BEDS ? What a joke !

The Feds have hi-jacked our health System to Australia wide provide 1400 beds what a joke this will be .
Posted by Garum Masala, Thursday, 22 April 2010 1:14:20 PM
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In 1974 I was part of a team that recommended deinstitutionalisation.(NB being my first job it was more like a work experience placement than as a fully fledged team member.) At the time institutionalization was the default position and, in many cases, did more harm then good. The recommendations were carefully worded and, had they been implemented as intended, would have ensured that there was a safety net of support. Politicians, however, saw an opportunity to reduce costs and so here as in many other western countries people were simply turned loose without sufficient support.
The critical failure of those efforts in 1974 was that they failed to set principles of patient care and support.
The weakness of our mental health system is that we have not identified a societal obligation to provide an appropriate level of support. For example here in SA there are a total of 600 beds for regional mental health patients. Once these 600 beds are filled then it does not matter how urgent someone's needs may be - there is no room; it is their fault for not getting sick when there were still beds available.
The health budget is the largest single outlay but that does not mean that it is money well spent. The Rudd 'reforms' are little more than window dressing. What is needed is a health system where patients - irrespective of their illness get the health care they need.
Leave triage to the health professionals instead of preempting triage by limiting funding from the outset.
Posted by BAYGON, Thursday, 22 April 2010 3:13:48 PM
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I agree with Baygon. The deinstitutionalisation of the mental health patients was a good idea at the time, but it has lost its way big time since then.

After rightfully) removing these mentally and (often)physically disabled people from the large institutions they formerly lived in, the Government created some nice group homes for them to live in, out in the community.

They originally had trained mental health staff to care for them, but when this got too expensive, they thought that maybe very minimally trained 'carers' could do the the job just as well for far less money.

It has all fallen in a heap now, and many of these people have had to be shunted around from place to place because most 'carers' could not manage their care at all.

What the Government did not think about at the time is the impact that some of these patients would have on the surrounding community.
Many of these people had very challenging behaviours- such as running around nude in the street, or screaming/crying very loudly.
Very off-putting if you lived next door.

Nursing staff were used to care for these people only if they had severe physical needs such as insulin injections or catheter insertions.
Their mental health needs were rarely dealt with by properly trained staff. It is a tragedy.
Posted by suzeonline, Friday, 23 April 2010 12:22:09 AM
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As the author of the book Cardboard: A woman left for dead - an Australian account of one woman's life-threatening eating disorder and her eventual hard-won recovery - it would seem to me there are fewer publicly funded treatment options today than there were twenty years ago. And that those on offer today are rarely "enough".

Not only are there are fewer beds in public hospitals - which means families struggling at home with very sick individuals, but there is scant access to treatments such as psychotherapy.

In a world which focusses on the biological and genetic causes of these disorders there is little understanding of the affective component of eating disorders which in turn means lives are being lost.

Until there is both more funding and a better understanding of the disorder the current appalling lack of effective services is likely to remain unchanged.
Posted by Fiona Place, Friday, 23 April 2010 10:29:26 AM
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Garrum Masala speaks crap. You are preempting the future. The structure of the hospital is still on the drawing board. The clearing of land is basic ground works. The ambo's have gone nowhere. I hope you live to see the propaganda you are passing off as gospal, is crap.
Posted by Desmond, Saturday, 24 April 2010 8:17:01 AM
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