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Mental Health and Wellbeing - Eating Disorder Clinic

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 6 September 2021

Tags: Health, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, I asked you in Estimates last year about the construction of a stand-alone eating disorder clinic at St John's and I know that you've allocated $10 million towards that in the Budget. You said that the funding would see a dedicated clinic and co located mental health hub completed in the financial year 2021 22, but from the current Budget that doesn't look like that's the case. Can you please tell me why you've changed the timeline and what people with eating disorders are going to be doing in that two-year gap?

Mr ROCKLIFF - Thank you for that important question. Eating disorders are estimated to affect some nine per cent of the Australian population. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychological or psychiatric condition and over 12 times higher than for people without eating disorders. The Australian Government committed $10 million to design, development and delivery of the Tasmanian Eating Disorder Service. $5 million has been provided with receipt of the remaining $5 million to be provided over 2021-22, 2022-23, 2023- 24 financial years. The high level for design for the Tasmanian Eating Disorder Service, or TEDS, has been completed and is available on the Department of Health website. Mr Gregory is here, he might like to add more information for you, including any delays that may well have eventuated.

In addition to scientific and medical research, developing the model for the new service has incorporated advice and feedback from people with lived experience of an eating disorder, either their own or a loved one. It included health professionals currently providing treatment for eating disorders in a range of treatment settings such as mental health; dietitians and doctors from the public health system; private practice and primary care. This has resulted in the development of TEDS as an evidence-based service design to meet the public needs of Tasmanians, taking into account our existing health system and service structure.

Because of this TEDS will include more than one centre and will provide functions to increase the capacity and capability of the entire system, providing evidence-based treatment to people with an eating disorder. One additional function will be an education and training for families and friends of people with eating disorders, for health professionals from a range of relevant disciplines, and potentially for other sectors, including the most likely to be first identifiers, such as in sport and education. The other function is consultation liaison which will mean that health professionals who do not specialise in eating disorder treatment can call TEDS and get specialist advice to help support their patient.

The treatment streams at TEDS will be a residential program at the St Johns Park site, with statewide eligibility. Construction works are scheduled to commence for that in February 2022. Community-based intensive treatment programs, day and evening programs in Launceston, Burnie and Hobart. Participants in the residential program will be encouraged and supported to participate in day or evening program activities as soon as they are ready, smoothing their transition from the more intensive levels of support to less intensive levels as and when they need it.

Mr GREGORY - We have been working very closely with the mental health team. Infrastructure needs to support the model of care. We have been working very closely with the mental health team to make sure the model of care is there and we are getting the right infrastructure to support that. With nearly all of our projects we have also had to step back and have a look at the impacts of COVID-19 and how that has affected design and how we manage that issue. It has taken a little bit longer than we had anticipated, but we are going to make sure we get the right design. We will be looking to push the construction through as quickly as we can, but working very closely with the mental health unit and the practitioners who will be running that facility has meant it has taken a little bit longer than we had initially thought it would.

Mr WEBSTER - The Tasmanian Eating Disorder Service is separate to the building work and will include intensive day centres around the state. They will commence in this financial year in advance of the southern build. The residential service is delayed, but the actual service itself will commence in 2021-22.