A ceremony today has marked the commencement of construction of the new Adolescent Extended Treatment facility within the grounds of Prince Charles Hospital at Chermside scheduled to open in 2020. The Queensland Premier – who attended along with the Health Minister Steven Miles – took the opportunity to release a Media Statement noting the significance of this next stage in the development of the vital health service that has been lacking since the closure of the Barrett Centre.
“My government is committed to making sure Queensland’s most vulnerable young people have access to highly specialised healthcare services to help them recover and return to their family, friends and communities. … I want to thank the patients of the former Barrett Adolescent Centre and their families, and other young people with a lived experience of mental health services for their invaluable input which will ensure that this facility and its services will be safe and effective.”
Melissa Fox, CEO of Health Consumers Queensland, the organisation facilitating and supporting the engagement of consumers and carers in the government response to the recommendations from the Barrett Centre Commission of Inquiry (work which includes the co-design of the new facility) also highlighted the important role of those affected by severe and complex adolescent mental health issues in the development of future services.
“… the design of this facility has been informed by meaningful engagement with young people and their families, and recognises their experiences in using mental health services … The input of young people in the development and design of services for young people is critical to providing better mental health services in Queensland.”
Consumers and carers, including former patients from the Barrett Adolescent Centre, who have been involved in the implementation of the recommendations, also spoke today at the ceremony, underlining the commitment of those at Queensland Health responsible for adolescent mental services to the ongoing involvement of the lived experience community in the evolution of a comprehensive and effective suite of services to support those affected.
The opening story on the 12 June bulletin on Queensland’s ABC television News was that the Palaszcsuk’s 13 June 2017 state budget – released this week – includes just under $70 million dollars to not only proceed with the establishment of the new extended treatment and rehabilitation facility at Chermside but to create four other complementary services aiming to support young people with mental illness in the community. (Online summary of ABC report here.)
Future plans include two new Step up Step Down facilities in south-east Queensland and two day programs to be based at Logan and the Gold Coast.
Justine Wilkinson, who lost her daughter Caitlin following the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre, has welcomed the allocation of funding but acknowledges that there is still much to be done to provide young people and their families with the full range of support that will make a significant difference to lives that can be indescribably turbulent and challenging. Ms Wilkinson’s ongoing advocacy has meant that she – along with other consumers and carers with lived experience in this area – has played a significant role in the ongoing co-design of new services following the government’s commitment to act on all the recommendations from the BAC Commission of Inquiry.
The engagement of Health Consumers Queensland has ensured that consumer and carer representatives sit on all committees and working groups undertaking planning to fulfil the recommendations and that people throughout Queensland have had opportunities to provide meaningful input into future service provision. This commitment to co-design ensures that those with lived experience not only are heard but heeded and can actively help to shape future services – a collaboration that should lead to programs and support that genuinely meet the needs of those in the community that require them.
Health Minister Cameron Dick believes the funding package to be a landmark step for young people so the community affected by youth mental health issues can only hope that innovative approaches to planning and needed funding continue to be at the forefront of the minds of all those responsible for providing vital services at all levels and in all sectors.
(More comment on this announcement can be found at the Blog post: ‘A Budget Boost –its implications for the Future and the Past’.)
After three workshops where people with lived experience collaborated with clinicians, education staff and government planners, Queensland Health have today released the preliminary Model of Service (MoS) for the new adolescent extended treatment facility in the grounds of Prince Charles Hospital with the following explanation:
The preliminary Model of Service has been released on the COI Implementation team website at http://www.health.qld.gov.au/improvement/youthmentalhealth/model-of-service/ and you are invited to provide comments to inform ongoing development. This opportunity is open until Friday 17 February, 2017. If you are aware of other people (individuals or organisations) who may be interested in the model of service and contributing comments you are welcome to provide the link to them.
Health Consumers Queensland will continue to work closely with the Department to support the engagement and involvement of consumers and carers in implementation of the Government response to all recommendations. Consumers and carers are encouraged to contact the appointed Engagement Advisor Leonie Sanderson should they wish to contribute to a group response (http://www.hcq.org.au/our-work/barrett-inquiry/).
As well as being available on the government website, the document is also available here.
Note: A Model of Service doesn’t aim to describe the day-to-day operations of such a facility. It is a high level document which guides the direction taken by a service – defining
WHO the service is for;
WHAT it hopes to ACHIEVE and
WHAT it intends to DO.
So anyone with an interest in mental healthcare can provide their input at this level to ensure that those who are currently not catered for in government healthcare service provision will finally have an option that will aid their recovery.
Everyone with any interest in Queensland’s health services, mental health issues and adolescent mental healthcare is urged to look through the Model and give feedback.
This can be done in several different ways:
1) By using the survey form that Queensland Health has made available here.
2) By providing a written response via email to the Commission of Inquiry Implementation Team – Preliminary Model of Service at EDyouthmentalhealth@health.qld.gov.au or
3) By contacting Leonie Sanderson at Health Consumers Queensland to have input into a group response.
The only way to ensure that the best possible service becomes available to Queenslanders in need of genuinely effective adolescent extended mental healthcare, education and rehabilitation is to have a say about what is needed NOW.