Home' Australian Pharmacist : November 2011 Contents Vol. 30 -- November #11, 2011
'Apartheid' in mental
By Peter Waterman
Mental health treatment in Australia
is the subject of a form of 'apartheid"
despite it being a major concern for
many Australians, Professor Patrick
McGorry AO told PAC11.
In his presentation titled Developing
the skills and systems for better
mental health care, Professor
McGorry said this 'apartheid' was
evidenced in the different approach
taken to people suffering mental
disease compared to people suffering
other disease states in the same
'I am reminded of the story of a
woman who was diagnosed with
breast cancer and went into hospital
where she was surrounded by
friends, flowers and had the best
treatment possible and all in all
had a positive, although stressful
' he said.
'The same woman had a recurrence
of a mental condition some months
later and was admitted to the same
hospital where her experience was
completely different this time. There
was no support from family and
friends, and her whole stay lacked the
support she had experienced when
admitted for breast cancer.
'What we are seeing is apartheid ...
one type of problem is treated one
way, while another type of problem is
approached completely differently.
Professor McGorry said 35% of
Australians rated mental health as a
major concern, alongside issues such
as climate change and the economy.
'This compares with about 10% in
countries like Britain and the United
' he said.
'We have really started to get it in
this country and what we are seeing
is politicians following the public, not
leading in this area.
But this concern was not matched
proportionally in the health system's
response, with only 7% of health
budgets going towards mental health.
'You could fill up the MCG [Melbourne
Cricket Ground] 40 times with the
number of people affected by mental
health conditions in Australia each
' Professor McGorry said.
'But the tragedy is you could fill
up 27 MCGs with those who get
no treatment whatsoever for their
Professor McGorry said urgent action
was needed and the arguments for
greater emphasis on mental health
'It is the most valuable and cost-
effective health reform available and
it is also the most achievable with all
political parties supporting a greater
emphasis on mental health. It is also
the most popular reform but it must
be led from the top and involve many
arms of Government.
Professor McGorry said that in
implementing services for mental
health, the focus had to be on
community-based programs and this
is where pharmacists could play a
'One of the great advantages for
pharmacies is that they are stigma-
free environments, and these are the
sort of environments which are critical
to the success of programs.
NZ moving to patient
By Andrew Daniels
New Zealand pharmacy is willing to
collaborate and integrate with general
practice but funding models will have
Pharmaceutical Society of New
Zealand (PSNZ) President Elizabeth
Plant told PAC11 delegates that
general practice in NZ 'has to get
serious about working with us.
was describing the present state of
pharmacy practice in NZ.
'In the future pharmacists should be
doing medication management not
dispensing bottles of pills. We must
be patient centred not prescription
' she said.
Presently funding is fee for service
and not patient focussed with NZ
pharmacists under-utilised and with
a looming GP and nursing workforce
Ms Plant said PSNZ has three
strategic alliances which are working
alliances not just pieces of paper.
These were with the Royal NZ College
of General Practice, General Practice
NZ (including nurses) and with PSA.
'The GPNZ alliance aims to
improve primary health services by
progressing models of integrated
care and facilitate strong relationships
at national, regional and most
importantly at local levels.
'The PSNZ and RNZCGP alliance
signed in March 2010 aims at enabling
the two professions to work more
closely together for the benefit of
'These alliances are important. It is
great for pharmacists to be able to say
to doctors -- "we (PSNZ) are working
The alliance with PSA focusses
on workforce issues, service
development, education, PAC and joint
advocacy and joint key messages.
She said a turning point came in 2010
when a multidisciplinary pharmacy
workforce forum was held. It
examined the question of whether
pharmacy was 'Fit for purpose for
2014 and beyond.
'Pharmacists are their own worst
enemies. The forum reminded
pharmacists of what they are capable
' she said.
Professor Patrick McGorry
Elizabeth Plant with PSA Board member
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