Today I welcome the agreement of the states and territories to working together with the Commonwealth to revive a national approach to mental health reform.
The response to the findings and reform recommendations will be coordinated through a dedicated COAG working group as proposed yesterday.
This is essential because, as the report finds, the mental health system in this country is fragmented and broken at multiple levels and we need a national coordinated approach across governments and the mental health sector.
As I announced yesterday, this COAFederal Minister for Health Sussan Ley is calling on Australians to have their say as part of the nation’s largest conversation about the best ways to prevent, treat and cure diabetes.
Ms Ley today announced the opening of a national consultation process to help guide the Abbott Government’s development of a National Diabetes Strategy – an election commitment.
Ms Ley said diabetes affected the lives of most people in some way, shape or form and this was a critical opportunity for all Australians to participate in finding the best ways to prevent, treat and cure this rapidly growing national problem through the Department of Health’s ‘Consultation Hub’.
“Over one million Australians are now living with diabetes, while hundreds of thousands more are either at high risk of contracting the disease or are living with it and don’t know,” Ms Ley said.
“However, diabetes doesn’t just affect the lives of those who have it. It takes a heavy toll on their family and friends, their job, the sustainability of the health budget and our national prosperity.
“For example, the overall cost of diabetes to the Australian economy is estimated to be as high as $14 billion annually.
“That’s why it’s so important we get a broad diversity of views. Whether you’re a carer, parent, employer, doctor, researcher or someone living with the disease, we want to hear your views, experiences and ideas about addressing this rapidly growing national problem.”
Ms Ley said there were over 200 new cases of diabetes diagnosed in Australia every day.
“Diabetes also contributes to a range of other serious health burdens, including heart attacks, strokes, amputation, blindness, kidney failure, depression and nerve disease, which is why this government is committed to delivering a National Diabetes Strategy,” Ms Ley said.
“This national strategy will aim to prioritise Australia’s response to diabetes; identify the best approaches to addressing the impact of diabetes in the community; and position Australia as an international leader in diabetes prevention, management and research.”
Comments received through this consultation will inform the National Diabetes Strategy, due for release late 2015. Consultation will close Friday May 17.
Ms Ley thanked the National Diabetes Strategy Advisory Group for their work, including developing a consultation paper to help generate public discussion and ideas and is available here.
The call for public feedback follows face-to-face consultations held last year in Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Alice Springs and Hobart.
The National Diabetes Strategy Advisory Group is co-chaired by the Hon. Judi Moylan and Professor Paul Zimmet AO and supported by a range of health, community and economic experts.G process will work hand-in-hand with a number of other support mechanisms, including an Expert Reference Group and broad mental health stakeholder workshops.
I can ensure the mental sector today this process is about implementation and transforming the work of the review from paper into policy, not just more talk.
However, the reality is this report is one to Government, not of Government.
While there are some positive recommendations, others may not deliver a practical reality or need further work in direct consultation with the mental health sector.
A clear example of this is the proposal to shift $1 billion from state acute care into community care, which I’ve used today’s meeting to again assure my state and territory colleagues the Commonwealth will not be pursuing this recommendation.
That’s why we must take these next steps to work with the mental health sector and the states and territories to ensure we get long-term national mental health reform right.
Turf wars and politicking are core underlying contributors to the significant fractures in the current mental health system and I simply ask all parties to put aside their own interests and differences so we can all work together to deliver the best outcomes for the most important people in this process: the patients.