Targeted acute mental health service expansion -Recommendation 2

The Royal Commission recommends that the Victorian Government, through the Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority and the Mental Health Implementation Office, provides funding for 170 additional youth and adult acute mental health beds to help address critical demand pressures. The allocation should be as follows:

  • 135 additional acute inpatient public mental health beds or equivalent beds, with the majority of these delivered by the end of 2021 and the remainder by mid-2022, proportionally provided to Barwon Health and to Melbourne Health, the latter in alliance with Western Health and Northern Health, using the following criteria: predicted population growth, forecast bed availability, socio-economic need and the availability of primary and community-based health services
  • 35 additional acute inpatient mental health beds or equivalent beds procured by the end of 2021 from a private provider to deliver clinical treatment, care and support for public patients who would otherwise be treated in a public inpatient mental health unit.

The design and establishment of the additional beds should:

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

Assertive outreach should be used to enable acute care in a home or community residence, where possible, as a direct substitute for an inpatient bed.