Nurse freeze will harm mental health patients

Vulnerable patients will be hurt through the Federal Government’s decision to freeze funding for a popular program providing experienced mental health nurses in primary care, GPs say.

More than 40,000 patients were seen through the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program in 2010/11 — exceeding the program's expected uptake by 4000 patients.

The annual number of people receiving a service for the 2011/12 financial year is expected to exceed 47,000.

But the government has put a handbrake on the program.

In a