Open Menu
Close Menu

Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Personal story:

Angela: frontline worker

Angela* is a registered psychologist working as a case manager in a community mental health team in the public sector.

She provides care to adults aged 18–64 years who are living with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, psychotic depression, bipolar affective disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Having worked in the public and the private sectors, she has witnessed the challenges experienced by both consumers and clinicians.

The clinician to patient ratio in community teams is too high to enable good quality and effective care. Depending on the organisation and team, one case manager may be looking after up to 20–50 plus patients, while psychiatry registrars and consultant psychiatrists may have 60–90 plus
patients at any one time.

The clinician to patient ratios are unsustainable to provide effective care, leaving clinicians burnt out and disillusioned, with patients negatively impacted as a result.

Another pressure on the system that Angela has found difficult to counter is the number and availability of psychiatric units and beds.

Despite clinicians’ best intentions, this often leads to people being turned away from emergency departments and inpatients being discharged due to bed pressure demands before they are fully recovered.

This means that vulnerable people are discharged into the community when they may put their own safety/wellbeing and that of others at risk.

Source: Interim Report, November 2019

Note: *Name has been changed to protect privacy.