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HomeIssue 31Western Desert mental health service to continue

Western Desert mental health service to continue

The Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas (MHSRRA) program is set to continue in the Western Desert region of Central Australia following mutual agreement on funding arrangements between the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), the Australian Government Department of Health and the Northern Territory Medicare Local (NTML).
An extension of the NTML’s agreement with the RFDS following the approval of carryover funding by the Department of Health ensures that there will be a continuity of high quality mental health care for people living in remote Western Desert communities in Central Australia.
“We are pleased to have all reached an agreement that allows the continuation of this important mental health service delivered through the Royal Flying Doctor Service,” said Dr Andrew Bell, Chair of the NTML.
“In particular we would like to acknowledge and thank the Commonwealth for approving the carryover of unspent funds. This has enabled the NTML and the RFDS to go back to the table with the best interests of community members who access these services being foremost in our minds,” Dr Bell commented.
“We would like to recognise the commitment of the RFDS in working together to ensure these services are ongoing.”
Comments from the Royal Flying Doctor Service: 
The MHSRRA Program delivers effective and culturally appropriate in-field treatment of mild to moderate diagnosable mental illness to outback communities.
“Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in rural and remote communities, so we congratulate the Northern Territory Medicare Local on reaching a solution to enable the RFDS to maintain its quality – and continuity – of care for mental health patients living in south-west Central Australia,” says John Lynch, CEO of RFDS Central Operations.
“Outcomes of the Mental Health Services Rural Remote Areas (MHSRRA) Program delivered by the RFDS have been significant. There has been a reduction of admissions of ‘acute’ patients from the south-western region of Central Australia to the Mental Health Inpatient Unit at the Alice Springs Hospital.”


  1. A victory for common sense, for the communities which value the work of the mental health team so highly, and for the talented and dedicated people struggling to deliver this vitally important service in the remote west of Central Australian NT.


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