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Mental health services to continue in Central Australia

Through the CASSE Blog, we have been reporting on the proposed funding cuts to remote Mental Health Services in NT, and the debate regarding the funding cuts. It is now fantastic to share the News Release, issued today by Northern Territory Medicare Local (NTML), confirming that The Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas (MHSRRA) program is set to continue in the Western Desert region of Central Australia.

(*This blog post relates to previous posts:  ”Mt Liebig petition in support of the RFDS mental health service‘, ‘Ongoing debate, but no solution as yet for remote communities‘, ‘Debate continues about remote mental health service funding cuts‘, ’Media Release – RFDS clarifies position on NT Medicare Local funding‘, ‘More questions about remote mental healthservice funding cuts‘, ‘Questions from Practitioners of Central Australia‘, ‘Response from NT Medicare Local regarding funding cuts‘, ‘The End for NT Indigenous Mental Health Service?‘, ‘Response to Warren Snowdon’s media release‘, ‘Media release re funding cuts from Warren Snowdon MP‘; ‘More on mental health funding cuts…‘; and ‘The loss of RFDS from nntaria – funding slashed‘) 

Media release – NT Medicare Local 20 Aug 2014

News Release from NT Medicare Local

Mental health services to continue in Central Australia

The Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas (MHSRRA) program is set to continue in the Western Desert region of Central Australia following mutual agreement on funding arrangements between the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), the Australian Government Department of Health and the Northern Territory Medicare Local (NTML).

An extension of the NTML’s agreement with the RFDS following the approval of carryover funding by the Department of Health ensures that there will be a continuity of high quality mental health care for people living in remote Western Desert communities in Central Australia.

“We are pleased to have all reached an agreement that allows the continuation of this important mental health service delivered through the Royal Flying Doctor Service,” said Dr Andrew Bell, Chair of the NTML.

“In particular we would like to acknowledge and thank the Commonwealth for approving the carryover of unspent funds. This has enabled the NTML and the RFDS to go back to the table with the best interests of community members who access these services being foremost in our minds,” Dr Bell commented.

“We would like to recognise the commitment of the RFDS in working together to ensure these services are ongoing.”

Comments from the Royal Flying Doctor Service:

The MHSRRA Program delivers effective and culturally appropriate in-field treatment of mild to moderate diagnosable mental illness to outback communities.

“Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in rural and remote communities, so we congratulate the Northern Territory Medicare Local on reaching a solution to enable the RFDS to maintain its quality – and continuity – of care for mental health patients living in south-west Central Australia,” says John Lynch, CEO of RFDS Central Operations.

“Outcomes of the Mental Health Services Rural Remote Areas (MHSRRA) Program delivered by the RFDS have been significant. There has been a reduction of admissions of ‘acute’ patients from the south-western region of Central Australia to the Mental Health Inpatient Unit at the Alice Springs Hospital.”

RFDS mental health professionals work closely with the Central Australian Mental Health Service and other agencies/practitioners to ensure seamless and holistic service delivery between the primary and tertiary sectors.

The multi-disciplinary RFDS MHSRRA team visit communities on a regular basis delivering effective, evidence-based treatment strategies.