The PACER model was introduced in December 2019 to provide better mental health care for Canberrans, and during this trial phase has returned very promising results, with many Canberrans being supported at home, rather than needing to be transferred to hospital; positive feedback from patients, staff and stakeholders; and reduced frequency of use of force in crisis situations.
The success of the model stems from the tri-service approach, with police, ambulance and mental health clinicians working closely together to bring their different skills and training to bear in what are often very difficult circumstances. The staff involved in this program have all volunteered to be part of it, and from my conversations with them, they are very supportive of its continuation.
In May this year, $720,000 of additional funding was provided to PACER to expand the service from 4 to 7 days a week, as part of the COVID mental health response package.
Due to the postponement of the ACT Budget, a business case for the future of PACER has not proceeded at this time. However, as the Minister for Mental Health and leader of the ACT Greens, I am committed to permanent funding for the model, and I would like to see it expanded to more than one team so that more Canberrans can benefit from this new service model.”