Victoria’s return to rights-based approach welcomed

Released on 4th June 2015

cohealth has applauded Minister Foley’s commitment to human rights-based approaches to health service delivery.

At a visit to cohealth’s integrated community health service at Niddrie yesterday, the Minister for Housing, Disability, Ageing, Mental Health, Equality and Creative Industries, Martin Foley, said pursuing both a rights-based agenda and codesign principles were important.

Chief Executive, Lyn Morgain, said she was delighted to hear the government talking about rightsbased approaches, especially in areas such as mental health.

“cohealth is passionately focused on codesign and rights-based approaches as a bedrock for service design and delivery”, Ms Morgain said.

“Real actions like strengthening Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights say important things about our commitment to the values of freedom, respect, equality and dignity in society – and these are all critical to designing and delivering welcoming, accessible and appropriate health care services to people from all walks of life.”

“A concrete example is assistance cohealth now provides to clients of our mental health community support services to develop Advanced Care Directives. This supports respect for people’s preferences and wishes during periods of acute ill health which evolved as a specific response to the review of the Victorian Mental Health Act, intended to bring it into line with human rights standards under the Charter.”

“Co-design means working with people who use our services to develop the service. We have designed feedback systems in partnership with our community advisory committee which are simple to use and navigate.”

Minister Foley and the local Member for Niddrie, Ben Carroll, toured the centre and discussed key challenges facing mental health service providers under Victoria’s new mental health commissioning process, and the likely impact of the NDIS on primary health service users who don’t neatly fit into government service categories.

Ms Morgain said the Minister and local member’s support for what an integrated community health model can offer the primary health sector was encouraging.

“cohealth offer a comprehensive range of integrated services across the breadth of the Minister’s portfolio of mental health, ageing and disability, and we even use creative industries in health prevention and promotion, so we’re delighted that the Minister could make time to visit and find out more”, Ms Morgain said.

“I’m very encouraged by the Minister’s invitation for community health to be part of the policy debate about health system reform and look forward to further engagement and discussion.”

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