Healthcare :: CAN DO initiative to build further knowledge of veterans’ needs among health professionals

Minister for Veterans? Affairs Bruce Billson says the Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) and the Department of Veterans? Affairs (DVA) would work in partnership on a new phase of The ?Can Do? Initiative: Managing Mental Health and Substance Use in General Practice.

Mr Billson said the mental health of Australia?s veterans is a major priority and that he remained totally committed to expanding access to the range of mental health care services available to veterans and their families.

As part of this commitmentDVA has negotiated a contract with the AGPN to extend the ?Can Do? initiative to include a new veterans?-specific component.

The initiative promotes closer contact and communication between health professionals, including the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service (VVCS), to ensure a better response to the mental health needs of veterans and their families across the healthcare sector.

?This new phase will raise awareness and increase clinical knowledge and skills among health professionals of the unique needs and experiences of Australia?s veterans and defence force communities,? he said.

The partnership between my Department and the AGPN comes as part of the 2006?07 Veterans? Affairs budget announcement of an extra $20 million over four years to improve access for Australia?s veterans and defence force communities to mental health services.

?This new knowledge sharing initiative will help enhance hospital and medical care, aged care services, rehabilitation programs, counselling and other community-based services across Australia for the benefit of veterans and their families,? Mr Billson said.

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