Kevin Rudd’s health adviser quits

It’s a case of every man/woman to save themselves or go down with the SS Kevin
Neville Gillmore.
Kevin Rudd health adviser quits


 Minister Kevin Rudd’s top mental health adviser has quit, accusing the government of a lack of vision and commitment to a problem that affects millions of Australians.

National Advisory Council on Mental Health chairman John Mendoza tendered his resignation on Friday in a letter to Health Minister Nicola Roxon and council members.

In the letter, obtained by Fairfax newspapers, he said he had regarded his appointment as the “most important public service responsibility of my life” and felt a “deep sense of disappointment” in quitting.

“It is now abundantly clear that there is no vision or commitment from the Rudd government to mental health,” he wrote. “The Rudd government is publicly claiming credit for the increased investment in mental health when almost all of this is a consequence of the work of the Howard government.”

Professor Mendoza’s resignation came as leaked figures revealed the expansion of the Better Access program, which provides rebates under Medicare for services such as general practitioner mental health plans and visits to psychologists.

Most experts on the advisory council believe the program is sucking money from where it is needed _ on services for growing numbers of mentally unwell young people – and that it is shutting out men, the poor and rural Australians.

Professor Mendoza described the program as “a mess” that should be overhauled into taxpayer-funded teams of psychologists and other professionals, such as mental health nurses and social workers.

A spokesman for Ms Roxon thanked Professor Mendoza for his service and agreed that more needed to be done. “However, the minister rejects Mr Mendoza’s assertion that the government has no commitment to mental health.”


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