Future reform in the mental health system: Outcomes of the Independent Review of WA Health System Governance

Yesterday, the State Government announced future reforms as a result Independent Review of WA Health System Governance, including a commitment to undertake further investigations as to how mental health governance issues could be addressed.

The Independent Review found that mental health and AOD governance needed improvement by clarifying leadership, having stronger accountability mechanisms, and better collaboration between the Mental Health Commission (MHC) and the Department of Health on planning, funding, and overseeing system performance. A decision was made to keep planning and commissioning responsibilities with the Mental Health Commission.

"Mental health reform will continue over many years. These reforms will help to strike a better balance between clinical, and lived experience, with a focus on recovery and supporting people to live their best lives," said Health and Mental Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson.

Future initiatives announced yesterday include:

  • A new mental health and AOD strategy, that prioritises delivery of a recovery-oriented, community-focused, and integrated system;
  • A new Ministerial Advisory Panel, with membership from mental health and AOD community sector leaders and lived experience leaders;
  • A Lived Experience Advisory Group, and a Clinical Advisory Group, to work with key system leaders;
  • Embedding a dedicated senior mental health executive position, within each Health Service Provider (HSP), reporting directly to the Chief Executive;
  • Creation of Lived Experience, Aboriginal and AOD leadership roles within the MHC; and
  • Prioritise capacity building and understandings of contemporary approaches to mental health and AOD service delivery.

WAAMH’s CEO Taryn Harvey is pleased with the result after a long period of advocacy for a stronger mental health system, including the continuation of responsibilities within the MHC.

“WAAMH coordinated a collective response from people with lived experience, member organisations, and other peak bodies supporting the continuing role of the WA MHC in response to independent governance review recommendations for significant Machinery of Government change that would have seen these responsibilities return to the Department of Health.

“WAAMH thanks the Minister for creating the time and space to allow for more in-depth consideration of the issues and deeper reflection on the options and for her considered response.  This has been a robust process and we now look forward to a renewed momentum for planning and commissioning the kind of balanced, contemporary, and recovery-focused system that Western Australia needs,” said Ms Harvey.

Media enquiries:
Taryn Harvey
Mobile: 0488 661 227

Read the State Government Media Release (31 August 2023)