Tasmanian Times

Media Release

Mental Health in the North West suffers under government’s public sector posturing

For the first time in decades Community Mental Health Services (CMHS) staff will walk off the job today in protest at the impact the government’s hardline public sector wages policy is having on mental health service delivery in the state’s North West.
Staff say the government’s wages policy risks making things even worse, with services set to suffer if something doesn’t change.
The North West is a region that suffers major difficulties in recruiting and retaining the skilled staff that are needed to help run the mental health services the community relies on.
HACSU State Secretary Tim Jacobson said, “After years of pay stagnation the government’s wage offer of 2% a year means we will struggle to keep staff here or fill vital vacancies.”
As the smallest clinical region in Tasmania, staff working in community mental health in the North West require an especially broad set of skills in comparison to other parts of the state, with staff often going above and beyond to protect vulnerable members of the community who might otherwise fall through the gaps.
The North West has seen a steady flow of highly qualified mental health clinicians including nurses, psychologists and social workers leaving the state as they seek greener pastures interstate and overseas.
HACSU delegate and Devonport Clinical Lead Stephen Hayes said, “A job paying tens of thousands of dollars more is just a flight away and it’s hard to compete with that.”
Concerns are rife that another three years of wage offers that fall below the cost of living will see less staff with less skills on the ground, fracturing a front-line service that is already at breaking point.
Community Mental Health Services staff walk-off details:
WHEN: 12:00pm
Monday 19 November 2019
WHERE: Adult Community Mental Health Services
34 Oldaker St, Devonport

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