State and territory specialised mental health care services

State and territory specialised mental health care services include public psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric units or wards in public acute hospitals, community mental health care services and government and non‑government‑operated residential mental health services.

In 2016–17, of the 32,573 full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff employed in state and territory specialised mental health care services, half were nurses (16,603 FTE or 51.0%) with the majority registered nurses (14,286 FTE). Diagnostic and allied health professionals (6,310 FTE or 19.4%) made up the second largest group of staff, comprising mostly social workers (2,115 FTE) and psychologists (1,832 FTE). Salaried medical officers made up 10.7% of FTE staff, with similar numbers of consultant psychiatrists and psychiatrists (1,447 FTE), and psychiatry registrars and trainees (1,670 FTE).

In 2016–17, there were 133.6 FTE staff per 100,000 population nationally employed in specialised mental health care services (Figure FAC.7). The Northern Territory (153.2) had the highest number of FTE staff per 100,000 population, while Victoria (120.9) had the lowest.

 

Figure FAC.7 Alternative text - Source data: Specialised mental health care facilities tables (487KB XLS)

The number of FTE staff per 100,000 population employed in specialised mental health care services has remained relatively stable between 2012–13 and 2016–17 across most labour force categories, apart from consumer workers. The number of FTE consumer workers increased from 0.3 to 0.5 per 100,000 population over this time period.

State and territory specialised mental health care service units

Staff employed by state and territory specialised mental health care services can also be described by the service setting where they are employed. In 2012–13, the organisational overhead setting was introduced for greater national consistency in reporting and greater clarity about staff delivering care to patients. The organisational overhead setting consists of the components of specialised mental health service organisations not directly involved in the delivery of patient care services in the admitted patient, residential or community mental health care service settings, or in the operations of those settings. The definition does not imply that these roles do not have an impact on service delivery. For example, a chief operating officer not directly providing patient care, nor involved in the operation of services in a specific service setting, would be reported in the organisational overhead setting. The reporting methodology for the new organisational overhead setting is taking time for states and territories to implement (see Table FAC.39 for detailed time series data).

Almost half (14,676 FTE or 45.1%) of state and territory specialised mental health care services staff were employed in public hospital specialised mental health services. Community mental health care services employed the next largest number of FTE staff (12, 346 or 37.9%). Since 1993–94, the number of FTE staff employed in specialised mental health admitted patient hospital services has remained relatively stable (approximately 13,000 to nearly 15,000 FTE staff) while those employed by community mental health services has increased nearly threefold (around 4,000 in 1993–94 to over 12,000 in 2016–17).

Health care providers

Health care providers include the staffing categories of salaried medical officers, nurses, diagnostic and allied health professionals, mental health consumer and carer workers and other personal care staff. These staff can be described at the overall organisational level, by service setting and by target population.

In 2016–17, public hospital specialised mental health services employed 54.9 FTE health care providers per 100,000 population (Figure FAC.8). Community mental health care services employed 45.1 FTE health care providers per 100,000 population in 2016–17 and Residential mental health services employed 7.7.

 

Figure FAC.8 Alternative text - Source data: Specialised mental health care facilities tables (487KB XLS)

Private hospital specialised mental health services

During 2016–17, specialised psychiatric services in private hospitals employed 3,541 FTE staff, equating to 14.5 FTE staff employed per 100,000 population. These figures do not include Medicare-subsidised medical practitioners and other health professionals, who also provide services to people admitted to private hospitals for mental health care. Comparison with previous years’ data should be made with caution due to changes in collection methodology. The data source section provides further information.