Australians happy with mental health care they receive

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Australians are happy with the mental health care they receive, with data showing the private and public systems are supported by their patients.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released a new report showing that most people are satisfied with the care they receive from state and territory mental health services.

The Mental health services in Australia report presents results from the Your Experience of Service survey conducted in Queensland and New South Wales health systems.

AIHW spokesperson Matthew James said experience of service was good.

“Of the 24,3000 surveys completed in 2016-17 about 86 percent of respondents in New South Wales and 73 percent in Queensland rated their overall experience of service as ‘good’, ‘very good’, or ‘excellent’.”

However, those admitted involuntarily were less likely to rate their experience as positive.

Australian Private Hospitals Association Psychiatric Committee Chair, Christine Gee, said the results are similar for the private sector.

Data collected through the Private Psychiatric Hospitals Data Reporting and Analysis Service (PPHDRAS) since 2001 tells a great story about private care.

In 2017 about 40,000 Australians were admitted to private psychiatric hospitals with a range of disorders from depression and bipolar, Post-traumatic stress disorders and severe anxiety.

In that year more than 19,000 surveys were completed by overnight patients in private hospitals, with 91 percent of patients agreeing that they received high quality care from the hospital and they had been treated with respect and dignity at all times.

In addition, 93 percent said they would recommend their hospital to a friend or family member if they needed psychiatric care.

Patients also reported a better sense of wellbeing, reduced symptoms and feeling better able to deal with crises.

Ms Gee said despite the good results, there was still some confusion about the care provided by private psychiatric facilities.

“Private hospitals have the knowledge and skill base to manage non-psychotic disorders, so patients with moderate to severe high prevalence disorders are the most common diagnosis treated in private psychiatric hospitals.

“In fact, the care both systems offer can be quite different. Due to necessity, public sector hospitals focus hospital treatment and expertise on low prevalence disorders. While private hospitals case mix tends to high prevalence mood and anxiety disorders and is more focused on the management of psychotic illness,” she said.

Recent changes to private health insurance that allow Australians to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime offer to upgrade their existing insurance to include mental health care without incurring a wait time would mean more people could get the care they need, she said.

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