Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Specialised Borderline Personality Disorder Service

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: My questions are to the Minister for Health:

  1. Given that it is almost three years since the government initiated the borderline personality disorder review and action plan, why is the government forcing people affected by BPD and their carers to wait for another two years for the implementation of the government’s BPD action plan?
  2. Given the work already done by the Mental Health Commissioner and SA Health, why is a further action plan required?
  3. What work identified in the implementation plan has been completed, and is the government on track to meet its 2017 targets by the end of the year?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): I thank the honourable member for her question. Borderline personality disorder is a significant issue that is getting a greater degree of awareness throughout the community, as I think all mental health issues are. That is a good thing. The costs of borderline personality disorder are significant. It affects up to 43 per cent of psychiatric inpatients into our mental health services. That’s certainly a number that jumped out at me when I read it; I think it was on the weekend that I read that particular brief. These are a significant number of people who are suffering from this concerning condition.

SA Health has been working with the South Australian Mental Health Commission to develop an action plan, as the honourable member refers to, for people who are suffering from borderline personality disorder. The action plan is the 2017-2020 action plan. The new service will see an investment of an extra $1.2 million over two years to assist recovery, to improve quality of life and to minimise the personal and social impacts of BPD in South Australia.

Establishing a specialised mental health service is the first step towards improving outcomes for people suffering borderline personality disorder. It will collaborate with other front-line agencies, including SAPOL, Correctional Services and Education. As the former minister for correctional services, I think it is fair to say that on more than one occasion Corrections has in its custody people who often are suffering mental illness. In some instances, borderline personality disorder was a contributing factor to their commission of a crime.

Doing things to help alleviate or assist those people suffering from borderline personality disorder getting access to treatment can in fact not just have an impact in terms of quality of life for people suffering from the condition but also can improve our standard of living generally, if it is preventing things like the commission of an offence. There will be additional training to be rolled out from later this year. It will ensure staff and emergency departments, hospitals and also community mental health services are better equipped to identify borderline personality disorder and support patients.

There will be six to eight dedicated clinicians who will also provide specialised borderline personality disorder support in the mental health system, and an evidence-based evaluation of the service’s effectiveness in meeting the community need will be conducted in the first two years of the action plan, I am advised. This is something that we are working towards. The action plan is important. I mentioned that the government is investing money to make sure that there can be better outcomes. It is more than just a plan; we have to make sure that the resources are there as well. The state government is committed to doing that when it comes to this important condition.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Supplementary: will the specialised borderline personality disorder service include a stand-alone bricks and mortar unit, as the BPD community and mental health professionals have been calling for for some time and as exists interstate?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): I will have to seek advice on that particular question. I haven’t received any information as such, and I certainly haven’t seen anything to suggest that that is something that has already been funded or committed to, but that is not to say that it isn’t the case, and I am more than happy to take that question on notice for the honourable member.