APRN will stimulate measurement and implementation of best practice and service delivery, and establish centres of clinical research excellence in each state and territory. This is an important preparatory course. We could improve outcomes by a whole 100 per cent if we deliver best practice consistently. Also there are a lot of off label treatment that could be brought on line to vastly improve the outcomes for people right now, if a bit more research was done to get them approved.
It’s expensive because this would be doubling at least the amount of funding going into this area, if the government actually did give [the requested] $68 million over five years. But in terms of the disease and its cost, it’s trivial really and it just makes no sense not to make this investment when say in 2006 the Commonwealth boosted funding by $1.9 billion over all the millions already going into it.
Sadly there was not one dollar of that $1.9 billion directed to research, not even to evaluate the effectiveness of that $1.9 billion spent. The research neglect is just ridiculous in this field. Surely any other industry would expect an evaluation for spending $1.9 billion. But there’s a big separation in government between research and service delivery. The other thing is, the approach to solving psychotic disorders is actually to try and get in when young people are just showing signs of difficult to treat depression and anxiety.
Intervening at that level, you’ll head off a whole lot of depression subsequently. It will head off and prevent disorder that will have an affect on the workplace.
Greg Bright: Don, you said last time that you kind of put all your hope in the science delivering an answer at some stage. Would you say the funding we’ve seen to date is conservative?
Don McDonald: Considerably. As a result of our son being diagnosed I got involved and I was able to, with the support of the employer associations in New South Wales together with the peak union organisations, put the screws on the State Minister for Health who engaged me full time to try to put this new institute, the Schizophrenia Research Institute, on the map.
As part of that project, that lasted three years, I took this issue out into the workplace like it had never been taken before. When I delivered these presentations I would find that there was silence. And then once you raised the issue, people started to come out of the woodwork from all directions, and talk about their son or their daughter, their wife, their husband, their brother, their sister. And many of these people were suffering some form of illness themselves, as a result of the trauma their family was going through.