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Ballarat still a needs a longer-term residential mental health care service

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) has welcomed the Andrews Government’s announcement that new short-term residential mental health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services will be established in the Ballarat area.

Mental Health Minister Martin Foley announced yesterday that the area’s 20-bed community care unit (CCU) will become an 18 to 20-bed drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Minister Foley also announced a new 12-bed prevention and recovery care (PARC) unit to provide care for patients affected by a mental illness who are still recovering after an acute hospital stay or require care to prevent an acute hospital stay. Unlike the CCU service, PARC does not provide dedicated 24/7 mental health nursing care. The length of a PARC stay is up to 28 days.

While new services are welcome and much needed, the ANMF (Vic Branch) says there is still a need for a medium to long-term stay community care unit (CCU) providing a dedicated mental health nursing service in the Ballarat area.

CCU provides residential care for people affected by a serious mental illness. Services include clinical nursing care and dedicated psychosocial rehabilitation programs helping people relearn daily living skills so they can return home. The average length of stay is six to 12 months, sometimes years.

ANMF is seeking to work with the Andrews Government to ensure that PARC clients will have access to 24/7 mental health nursing care and appropriate clinical interventions.

ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: “After years of neglect, we’re really pleased to see the work underway to increase the mental health workforce and implement the 10-year plan to improve outcomes. We look forward to working with Premier Andrews and Minister Foley to achieve the mental health system Victorians need and deserve.”