Collaboration • Knowledge • Leadership

Collaboration • Knowledge • Leadership

Prof Allan Fels AO calls for better supports, less competition

Nov, 2022

Mental Health Victoria needs to be supported to play a key role in reform, says Prof Allan Fels, MHV Patron.

Prof Fels was speaking as part of the Mental Health Victoria Annual General Meeting, held online on 24 November.

There is a vital need for voices from the mental health and wellbeing sector to continue to shape reform rollout, he said, and MHV is ‘in a unique position’ to amplify those voices to government ears.

“Transformation of an entrenched system must go beyond implementation of the recommendations in any kind of mechanical way alone,” he said. “The Commissioners themselves noted that the work must be iterative and centre on a process of continuous learning and feedback, with the voices of those with lived experience and living experience informing every aspect of the process.”

“If we are to realise the vision lying behind the recommendations of the Royal Commission, Mental Health Victoria must be supported as it brings to the table the voices and expertise of consumers, carers, families, and the service providers, clinicians, support workers, government and departmental staff,” said Prof Fels. “MHV is ideally placed to play the role of host and facilitator of this necessary conversation, to inform the deep systemic change that's required if we are to realise our shared hopes.”

MHV already plays a significant role in facilitating conversations within the sector, with briefings such as The First 100 Days representing the focussed recommendations of the mental health and wellbeing sector for the new Victorian government’s first 100 days of office.

Prof Fels noted that the broad member base of MHV is a great asset as we proceed with reform, but it is underutilised.

“A great diversity in organisations and interests have worked together in the safe and neutral collaborative space created by MHV,” he said.

Competition not the way forward

Prof Fels also recommended the Government look beyond traditional competitive models of funding allocation if it wants to foster collaboration.

“The need for alternate models to that of competitive tendering is paramount if we are to realise services that are truly centred on the needs of consumers, clients, carers, and family,” he said.

“There’s a need for new models of service, design, and delivery that centre on the actual experience of people with lived experience, a need for support for service providers and their teams to adopt new models to ensure that access to care and quality of service are not lost through the transformation period and a need for more integrated models of those services funded by state and Commonwealth governments, so that people are not lost in the system.”

“I think we need to remember that collaborative efforts have brought us to this point and partnerships and consortia are the preferred models for new service delivery.”

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