There aren't enough staff in our mental health system.
It puts everyone at risk: consumers can't heal, and workers get hurt.
There are currently 350 vacant clinical positions across the state; this will soon be compounded by the need for an additional 350 positions in the forensic system with extensions to Ravenhall Prison and Thomas Embling Hospital scheduled to open in 2022.
HACSU members across the state are identifying intolerable workloads due to the vacancies, compromising the safety of staff and consumers.
The staffing shortages also affect other areas of clinical policy, such as the commitment to reduced seclusion. HACSU members report very little has changed concerning this policy due to vacancies.
HACSU representatives have written to Minister Martin Foley, informing him of the campaign's launch and HACSU's detailed solution to fix the crisis.
The situation is steadily getting worse, and the State Government cannot open the planned new Forensic services due to the staffing shortage. The Government must invest in training Australian clinicians as international recruitment opportunities have dried up.
Join the campaign for better mental health - for staff & for consumers.
HACSU members have offered the following solution to the Minister for Mental Health.
Make entry into the mental health sector more accessible by creating alternative entry points alongside university.
We can make this work: 90 Graduates in the 1st year, 90 Graduates and 90 Post Graduates in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years, and 90 Post Graduates in the 5th year.
Out of the 90 employees, 60 would be nurses, and 30 would be Allied Health Professionals.
This means an additional 720 staff, or $118 million investment into staff.
As it stands with the current Mental Health EBA, Allied Health Educators will be introduced in 2022. This needs to be brought forward to occur immediately because new graduates need specialist mentorship. What they learn at university translates into specialised work skills and ensures higher retention of allied health professionals in mental health.
This would provide more time for clinicians to focus on actual clinical work.
Earlier this morning, the Victorian Government announced that if re-elected it will introduce a Royal Commission into Mental Health.
In its 2018/19 State Budget the Andrews Government has finally begun to recognise the urgency of the crisis facing the mental health sector. HACSU welcomes the record $705 million investment in mental health services across the state.