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 care services.

In 2017–18, of the 33,503 full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff employed in state and territory specialised mental health care services, about half were nurses (17,060 FTE or 50.9%) with the majority registered nurses (14,660 FTE). Diagnostic and allied health professionals (6,604 FTE or 19.7%) made up the second largest group of staff, comprising mostly social workers (2,314 FTE) and psychologists (1,883 FTE). Salaried medical officers made up 10.8% of FTE staff, with similar numbers of consultant psychiatrists and psychiatrists (1,559 FTE), and psychiatry registrars and trainees (1,720 FTE).

In 2017–18, there were 135.2 FTE staff per 100,000 population nationally employed in specialised mental health care services (Figure FAC.7). The Northern Territory (164.8) had the highest number of FTE staff per 100,000 population, while Victoria (125.8) had the lowest. Nurses were the largest full-time-equivalent staff category across all jurisdictions.

 

Figure FAC.7: Full-time-equivalent staff per 100,000 population by staffing category, states and territories, 2017-18

Vertical stacked bar chart showing full-time-equivalent staff per 100,000 population by staffing category and jurisdictions in 2017–18. NSW (134.3), Vic (125.8), Qld (133.6), WA (152.2), SA (145.1), Tas (149.1), ACT (137.6), NT (164.8) and Total (135.2). Nurses made up the majority of full-time-equivalent staff across all jurisdictions. Refer to Table FAC.36.

Visualisation not available for printing

Description of figure FAC.7 - Source data: Specialised mental health care facilities tables (512KB XLS)

The number of FTE staff per 100,000 population employed in specialised mental health care services has increased gradually from 2013–14 to 2017–18 at an average annual increase of 0.8%. The labour force categories Other personal care and Other staff decreased somewhat over this time period. The number of FTE consumer workers increased from 0.3 to 0.7 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 (14,881 FTE or 44.4%) 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 (12,870 or 38.4%). Since 1993–94, the number of FTE staff employed in specialised mental health admitted patient hospital services has ranged between around 11,000 to 15,000 FTE while FTE employed by Community mental health care services has tripled (from 4,197 in 1993–94 to 12,870 in 2017–18).

Service Setting

Across the history of reporting, the population rate of FTE staff employed by Hospital admitted patient services has ranged between 58.2 and 76.8 FTE per 100,000 population, and has been stable, at about 60, for the last 6 reporting periods. The population rate of FTE staff employed by Community mental health care services increased every year from 1993–94 to 2011–12 (from 23.7 to 57.7 FTE per 100,000 population), and then levelled off in the low 50s for the last 6 reporting periods. The population rate of FTE staff employed by Residential mental health care services has been broadly stable over the past 18 reporting periods (typically just below 10 FTE per 100,000 population). Organisational overhead service settings have been reported as a service setting since 2012–13, with FTE per 100,000 population ranging between 9.8 and 14.2.

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 2017–18, public hospital specialised mental health services employed 55.2 FTE health care providers per 100,000 population (Figure FAC.8). Community mental health care services employed 46.4 FTE health care providers per 100,000 population in 2017–18 and Residential mental health care services employed 8.8.

Between 1992–93 and 2017–18 FTE health care providers per 100,000 population was consistently highest for Hospital admitted patient service settings, ranging between 45.1 and 57.1 (in 2000–01 and 1992–93 respectively). The rate was consistently second highest for Community mental health care service settings, which increased from 19.1 to 46.4 between 1992–93 and 2017–18, peaking at 48.0 in 2011–12. The rate for Residential mental health care service settings increased from 4.0 to 8.8 between 1992–93 and 2017–18, with a low of 3.4 in 1993–94. The Organisation overhead setting was reported on from 2012–13, with a rate ranging between 3.7 and 5.7 during the past 6 reporting periods.

 

Figure FAC.8: Full-time-equivalent health care providers per 100,000 population, states and territory specialised mental health service units, by service setting,1992-93 to 2017-18

Line graph showing Full-time-equivalent health care providers per 100,000 population, state and territory specialised mental health service units, by service setting, 1992–93 to 2017–18. This rate was consistently highest for Hospital admitted patient service settings, ranging between 45.1 and 57.1 (in 2000–01 and 1992–93 respectively), and was most recently 55.2 (in 2017–18). The rate was consistently second highest for Community mental health care service settings, which increased from 19.1 to 46.4 between 1992–93 and 2017–18, peaking at 48.0 in 2011–12. The rate for Residential mental health care service settings increased from 4.0 to 8.8 between 1992–93 and 2017–18, with a low of 3.4 in 1993–94. The Organisation overhead setting was reported on from 2012–13, with a rate ranging between 3.7 and 5.7 during the past 6 reporting periods.

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Description of figure FAC.8 - Source data: Specialised mental health care facilities tables (512KB XLS)

Private hospital specialised mental health services

Staffing provided in private hospital specialised mental health services are not available for 2017–18. These data were previously provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics through its Private Hospitals Establishment Collection (PHEC), but this survey was discontinued in 2016–17. The data source section provides further information.