Joining up WA’s mental health and alcohol and other drug systems

A joint plan for mental health and alcohol and other drug services across the Western Australian health system will help people seeking support to get the right help, regardless of their first point of access.

 WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) led the development of the WA Foundational Plan for Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services, and Suicide Prevention (Plan) which is the first priority area under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Negotiations between the Australian and State/Territory Governments currently taking place under the new National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement and National Health Reform Agreement Addendum, will look to develop levers that that are sufficiently stringent to hold each party to account and effectively drive the desired outcomes of regional planning – timely access to care when people need it, close to where they live.

The Plan recognises that WA’s three Primary Heath Networks (operated by WAPHA), five Health Service Providers (HSPs) and its Mental Health Commission provide the necessary structure to support integration at a state-wide level.

It aligns with the WA Sustainable Health Review, Strategy 2, Recommendations and Priorities related to Mental Health System reform, in particular, Recommendation 6c: ensure clear accountabilities for joint planning, commissioning and service delivery for more integrated services.

Within the national context of health system integration, the Plan is unique in receiving state-wide endorsement from WAPHA’s CEO, each of the five WA HSP Chief Executives and WA’s Mental Health Commissioner. WA’s Plan has also been endorsed by the Australian Government.

WAPHA CEO, Learne Durrington, said all signatories to the Plan share a vested interest in undertaking collaborative planning to make better use of our mental health and alcohol and other drug resources to enhance care and achieve sustainability within the healthcare system.

“People seeking support for their mental health, at risk for suicide, or experiencing problematic alcohol or other drug use can encounter a myriad of challenges to improving their wellbeing.

“Over time, the Plan will make this journey easier for consumers, their families and carers and service providers, make the system more efficient and, most importantly, lead to better mental and physical health outcomes.

“A clinical governance framework, built on existing partnerships, can hold us to account in implementing the plan. The inclusion of consumers, carers and clinicians from the communities we serve will enrich the outcomes we are striving to achieve.”

About the Plan

The Foundational Plan is a simple pragmatic document that considers the confluence of service provision commissioned and delivered by the WA Mental Health Commission, Health Service Providers (HSPs) and WAPHA, and seeks ways of developing and enhancing access to care across the broader WA healthcare system.

It is intended that the implementation of the Foundational Plan will be undertaken in a staged and pragmatic way involving:

  • Setting the governance structure needed to support implementation and monitor progress;
  • Sharing information and data to inform subregional planning (i.e., the HSP-PHN overlay) across the priority areas;
  • Undertaking collaborative subregional mental health, AOD and suicide prevention needs assessments and mapping to identify current service gaps and duplication, and make better use of existing resources;
  • Ensuring the pro-active inclusion of consumer, carer and clinician engagement in the activities of Subregional Working Groups;
  • Identifying opportunities for coordinated service delivery and shared service pathways; and
  • Exploring innovative funding models through the course of the implementation phase.

Download the Plan

This activity has been made possible through funding provided by the Australian Government under the PHN Program.