Ballarat has missed out any direct benefit from a promised $870 million mental health injection from the state government.
The funding, promised to be in this month's 2020/21 state budget, includes among other measures $492 million to deliver 120 mental health beds in Geelong, Epping, Sunshine and Melbourne, $18.9 million for 35 acute treatment beds for public mental health patients in private health services, and $21.4 million to expand the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service which already operated in Ballarat.
"Ballarat Health Services has not received detailed information into the announcement that the state will receive an injection of $870 million into mental health services," said BHS director of acute operations Ben Kelly.
"Mental health services is a state-wide system, and while it appears Ballarat has not received direct funding on this occasion, improved services elsewhere - such as the announced 120 additional beds across Geelong, Epping, Sunshine and Melbourne - will likely indirectly support care delivery here at Ballarat Health Services.
"Funding of this proportion is important and welcomed, and BHS believes this most recent announcement is another positive step forward."
Mr Kelly said the recently opened 12-bed PARC facility in Pleasant Street South was a positive step, improving BHS' capacity to provide early intervention and recovery supports for people suffering mental illness, bridging the gap between community and hospital-based care.
IN OTHER NEWS
"This year's Budget supports the recovery of our state and the fundamental rebuild of our system, delivering new beds, more staff and dedicated early support for young Victorians," said Victorian mental health minister James Merlino.
Other measures in the mental health spend include $2.2 million for a new Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing, $8,7 million for a residential mental health service designed and delivered by people with lived experience, more training positions and funding for those looking to study or retrain in mental health and $7.7 million for specialist training roles in child and adolescent psychiatry to address the shortage of trained psychiatrists in these roles, particularly in regional areas.