Budget must honour mental health pledge, says AMA

THE Gillard Government must use the coming budget as a means to honour its election pledge that mental health would be a “second-term priority”, the AMA argues.

In its submission to the 2011–12 budget, the AMA has called for a $5 billion investment over the next four years to expand health and social services for the mentally ill.

The association indicated it was preparing a detailed plan identifying priority areas for spending in this area, although it put prevention, early identification and community-based care high on the list.

“The mental health system is not even reaching many patients and it is failing too many others,” AMA president Dr Andrew Pesce said.

The submission also called for primary care infrastructure to be boosted, saying funding intended for the controversial GP super clinics program should be redirected to general practices.

“In addition, the Government should increase