AMA supports better mental health services for defence force personnel

24 Mar 2016

The AMA supports many of the recommendations of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee report into the Mental Health of Australian Defence Force (ADF) Members and Veterans, which was released last week.

AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said the proposal for annual mental health screening for Australian Defence Force personnel is particularly welcome.

“Annual screening would help ensure that mental health problems are identified at a much earlier stage, would support early intervention, and lead to much better mental health outcomes for affected personnel,” Professor Owler said.

The Report recommends the development of a universal identifier for veterans that is linked to their service and medical record, a concept supported by the AMA.

Professor Owler said a unique or universal identifier could help improve health outcomes for these patients, would allow longitudinal tracking, and could also support the transition from ADF-funded health services to services funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and mainstream health services.

“There is strong support for this concept among veterans’ groups consulted by the AMA. The AMA encourages the Government and the bureaucracy to fast track this important initiative to support defence force personnel,” Professor Owler said.

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