NALHN - Forensic Mental Health Services and Older Persons Mental Health Services Consultative Committee Update

23 March 2016

The Public Service Association (PSA) attended the regular Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN) Forensic Mental Health Services (FMHS) and Older Persons Mental Health Services (OPMHS) Consultative Committee.

Items discussed and actions agreed are as follows:

NALHN MH Organisational Chart:
Unions have requested an updated version of the original chart. This will cover all NALHN MH roles (no names listed – just positions), including all FTE and classifications, so that Unions, NALHN MH management and staff are all of the same understanding when looking at vacancies, backfill, workload concerns etc. The Acting Director for NALHN MH Health Strategy and Operations, Kurt Towers, advised that the updated Organisational Chart will be presented to Unions at the next FMHS/OPMHS Consultative Committee meeting.

NALHN MH Administration Services Review:
The PSA were advised that this process has recommenced, with a meeting to be held with the NALHN Chief Executive Officer, NALHN MH management and PSA to discuss further. The PSA will update members again at that time.

Implications of COAG funded services with funding ceasing 30 June 2016:
The PSA were advised that contingencies and exit strategy planning is underway. Once complete, a clear communication strategy will be developed to inform staff, consumers, Unions, other agencies and the community of the implications of the cessation of this funding. PSA have continued to raise concerns regarding workloads and resourcing, if the provision of these services is still to occur without appropriate resourcing; and also the implications for Emergency Departments and other MHS in the absence of these programs.

Interim Governance Arrangements:
The PSA were made aware by members of interim NALHN MH governance arrangements that have been put in place due to a combination of expected and unexpected leave. On behalf of members, PSA raised numerous concerns regarding these arrangements, including:

The PSA not being informed directly by NALHN MH management, but finding out about these interim arrangements via members;

How long these arrangement are anticipated to be in place, and when they would be reviewed;

The decision that one role covering three was adequate – given that the Sector Manager (SM) North and the SM North East roles had already been combined previously, and now this role is to also encompass (on an interim basis) all NALHN MH Operational Matters;

Potential workload issues, for both those roles and staff underneath, given these changes; and

How operational and professional reporting would occur during this time.

In response, NALHN MH have advised that an updated e-mail would be sent to staff with clearer advice regarding operational and professional reporting; that the interim arrangements would be reviewed in 3 months unless a return to previous arrangements occurs prior; and that if any unintended consequences occur, staff are encouraged to raise these issues with their managers. Members are also encouraged to contact PSA if any issues occur.

Social Work coverage – OPMHS Oakden Campus:
PSA raised concerns around the removal of the temporary Social Worker role from Oakden due to lack of funding. As a result, the 1H/Northern OPMHS Community Social Worker is providing in-reach to Oakden in addition to their normal duties. The Acting manager for NALHN MH Operational Matters, Trudy Gilligan, advised that she would follow up and provide an update to the PSA when further information is known.

Proposed move of Eastern and Western OPMHS from NALHN to CALHN:
The PSA were advised that following provision of further information by NALHN MH, discussions regarding this move are now occurring between the 2 LHN's at a Chief Operating Officer level, and will then progress to Chief Executive Officer level.

Further updates will be provided as information is made available.