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Victorian mental health royal commission update

Victorian mental health royal commission update

Implementation progress update

Since the recommendations were released two years ago, the Victorian Government has progressed implementing many of the Final Report’s 65 recommendations and the nine interim recommendations. On behalf of members ANMF is involved in various committees to advocate that mental health nurses must have a prominent voice during this period of rapid reform.

The ANMF Royal Commission Working Group (RCWG), established in May 2021, continues to meet monthly. This committee comprises ANMF members from different mental health areas across metropolitan and regional Victoria. We discuss current issues and opportunities related to the rollout of recommendations. Recently the RCWG has focused on the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act, coming into effect 1 September 2023.

See below for an update on certain recommendations and progress. Some of this reform was included in the state budget handed down on Tuesday 23 May. Importantly, there are always many opportunities for members to get involved, whether or not that is contributing to an ANMF submission, getting involved in local working groups relating to reform work or joining our ANMF Royal Commission Working Group.

Overview of reform work:

  1. Specialist Women’s Mental Health Service (recommendation 2 from the interim report): This service opened in Shepparton and includes inpatient and at home support. The Melbourne service is under construction. ANMF is in communication with the partners which include Alfred Health and Ramsay Health Care.
  2. State-wide Child and Family Centre (recommendation 19) is close to opening. ANMF will be attending a walkthrough of the final construction. The service is auspiced by Austin Health which is currently recruiting to positions.
  3. Regional Forensic Mental Health Service (recommendation 37): Forensicare will oversee this program. The first will be established in the Southwest/Barwon area, and over time there will be eight of these forensic community programs.
  4. Disaggregation of Northwestern Mental Health (NWMH) is in final stages. The Aged Person Mental Health Program run by NWMH has disaggregated. The expression of interests’ process is complete. Nurses were able to choose which Area Mental Health Service (AMHS) they would like to transfer their employment. Each AMHS will now have an Older Adults Program. This is due to commence by 1 July 2023. The disaggregation process was and continues to be complex, and ANMF continues to advocate that the department take a coordinated and centralised approach to any upcoming disaggregation.
  5. Adult and Older Adult Local Mental Health and Wellbeing Services (recommendation 3): Six Locals have begun providing services. Nine others went to tender in early April. ANMF continues to have discussions with the department about the upcoming roll out of new Locals, governance of these Locals and, importantly, their strong connection and referral pathways to Area Mental Health Services (AMHS)as envisioned by the Royal Commission.
  6. New state-wide dual diagnoses services for people with a co-occurring mental health illness and substance abuse issue (recommendation 36): Turning Point (Eastern Health) successfully tendered for this new service and is in the process of expanding their AOD and mental health nurse workforce.

NEW Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022

The above legislation was passed by Government last year, and will commence on 1 September 2023. ANMF strongly advocated for a comprehensive training rollout at each AMHS, where a specific clinician is employed into the role. This role is called a Mental Health and Wellbeing Act Implementation Lead (formerly known as an ‘Embedded Practitioner’), and all AMHSs should have employed into this funded 18-month position.

If you’re unsure if you have an Act Implementation Lead or are certain that you don’t have someone employed into this role, please let ANMF know via (Attention: ANMF Acting Mental Health Nursing Officer Jacinta Crofton).

ANMF will be involved in reviewing the training and education package (when finalised) and will also distribute an FAQ for members in the coming weeks. ANMF is acutely aware of the timeline and continue to raise this communication and training as a matter or priority with the department and other stakeholders.

Independent Review of Compulsory Assessment and Treatment
Criteria and Alignment with Decision-Making Laws

This review will examine both the compulsory assessment criteria and the compulsory treatment criteria in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 (the Act). The review will also consider how the Act can be more closely aligned with other decision-making laws to improve supported decision-making principles and practices. ANMF has provided a submission of behalf of members after receiving feedback. Read our submission. The Independent Review Panel will review all submissions and provide feedback to the Government late 2023.

Further information, including the Terms of Reference, is available via The Panel released a consultation paper via the Engage Victoria platform.

Member inquiries

ANMF will continue to update members on the mental health reform implementation.  Please contact Acting Mental Health Nursing Officer Jacinta Crofton if you have any queries via: