Mental health nursing program in Brisbane’s North

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Mental health nurses will help general practitioners and psychiatrists to provide coordinated care to patients with severe mental illness and complex health issues in Brisbane’s North.

The Mental Health Nursing in Brisbane North (MHNiB) program brings together both mental health nurses and GPs or psychiatrists to deliver treatment and support for their patients, a free service.

The nurses help the patient connect with other health professionals and services, actively maintain contact with the person to monitor their wellbeing and progress and provide them with information to help manage their physical and mental health issues.

Following a review of Australian Government-funded mental health nursing services, Brisbane North Primary Health Networks (PHN) has directed new and existing funding to three MHNiB providers, Toowong Private Hospital, Morayfield Psychology Centre and Footprints Mental Health Services.

Brisbane North PHN Chief Executive Abbe Anderson said the MHNiB program was part of an expanded range of mental health, suicide prevention, and alcohol and other drug treatment services the PHN is commissioning across North Brisbane and the Moreton Bay region.

“The three mental health nursing providers we’ve selected to deliver the MHNiB program will ensure more equitable geographical distribution of clinical care coordination services,” Ms Anderson said.

Toowong Private Hospital CEO, Christine Gee said that being part of the MHNiB was an excellent demonstration of public and private sectors working in partnership to deliver enhanced community mental health services.

“This project is a perfect example of not just public and private sectors working together, but also of how hospital and community-based services can learn from each other and collaborate to develop and deliver much needed mental health care coordination services to support patients and their treating general practitioners and psychiatrists.

“This program is a tangible example of what is possible when existing barriers are challenged and overcome to enable services to be delivered when and where they are needed by the patient,” Ms Gee said.

All three providers attended the launch of the MHNiB program at Toowong Private Hospital, along with the Federal Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice.

Ms Prentice said the MHNiB program would receive close to $1.5 million in Commonwealth funding in 2017-18 to provide care for some of society’s most vulnerable people.

“I commend Brisbane North PHN and the mental health nursing providers involved in this program for the valuable clinical care coordination services they afford to GPs and community-based psychiatrists,” Ms Prentice said.

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