Department of Health

What the Royal Commission said

The Royal Commission has called for a further 170 new youth and adult mental health beds to be located in the north west of Melbourne and the Barwon region. To reduce the current pressure on the public health system, the new public beds will be delivered in areas where mental health services are currently unable to meet the demand and where populations are predicted to grow. A smaller number of new beds will be managed through an innovative private hospital and public mental health service partnership. This will create opportunities for new partnerships and models of care while also reducing the burden on the public health system. The recommendation states that these additional public and private beds should:

  • be co-designed with people with lived experience
  • provide high-quality care
  • involve public, private and community health service partnerships.

What are the opportunities?

During the Royal Commission's hearings, consumers, carers and healthcare workers called for urgent action to address issues with the current provision of mental health beds. The Commission found:

  • the current supply does not meet the demand
  • this shortage means that only the most unwell people can access a bed
  • hospital stays are getting shorter, and many people are discharged before they can recover
  • consumers, carers and the workforce are reporting poor experiences
  • consumers have little choice in when and where they can access public mental health beds

What are we doing?

To respond to this recommendation, we are working with our partners to:

Support the delivery of new youth and adult public and private beds throughout Victoria

We are working with the Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority (VHHSBA) to deliver new public mental health beds.

The Royal Commission's interim report called for 170 new public beds. However, following the early planning and design process, MHRV and VHHSBA will be delivering 179 new beds.

As recommended by the Royal Commission, these beds will be located in areas of population growth and socio-economic disadvantage and where current services are struggling to meet demand.

We are also seeking expressions of interest to establish a 35-bed acute Women's Mental Health service for consumers who identify as women. These beds will be delivered through a partnership between a public mental health service and a private hospital.

Health services are engaging consumers and carers who have lived experience of the mental health system in the design of the new public and private facilities. This will help ensure that the new facilities are safe, welcoming and culturally appropriate for people of all identities and backgrounds. The experiences of consumers and carers will also inform how services and care are delivered within these spaces.

Deliver a new mental health Hospital in the Home service for adults and young people

The Royal Commission has recommended that a portion of the new acute beds be delivered through a Hospital in the Home service model.

The mental health Hospital in the Home program provides 24-hour acute clinical care and social support to a person and their family or carers in the consumer's home. The model has been found to promote similar or better recovery outcomes for consumers compared to hospital in-patient care.

The Royal Commission states that, where available and appropriate, Hospital in the Home should be an available alternative to hospital-based care.

Barwon Health will deliver the program to adults in the Barwon area. Melbourne Health and Orygen will manage a similar service for young people aged 16-25 in metropolitan Melbourne.

Reviewed 17 March 2022

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