The Australian Government’s basis for the funding of PHNs is in response to the Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities – Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services at the policy level is from a systems perspective.
This review presents nine interconnected and concrete areas of reform with PHNs leading the planning and integration at the local level in partnership with state governments, non-government organisations and other related services and organisations.
Additionally, PHNs were funded to commission alcohol and other drug services (AOD) arising from the National ‘Ice’ Taskforce’s Final Report.
PHNs are tasked with improving coordination of health care to ensure people receive the right care in the right place at the right time and have a focus on mental health as a priority.
In its position paper on mental health, WAPHA states;
“WA has a complex array of uncoordinated services that are unevenly distributed, disconnected from each other, difficult to navigate.”
In response, WAPHA will focus its investment on integrated services and collaborative models of care, building on the strengths of existing and different service systems and enhancing the role of primary care.
This approach is in line with the Western Australian Mental Health Commission’s strategic policy document: Mental Health 2020: Making it personal and everybody’s’ business as well as Better Choices, Better Lives: Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025 (Better Choices, Better Lives) which calls for a focus on improved service navigation, collaboration and integration. It points to a picture of lack of access and underutilisation of primary care services by Western Australians experiencing mental health issues.
Similarly, the National Ice Taskforce report highlights the need for improved coordination between existing services, improved referral pathways, the need to develop the primary care workforce and provide greater access to care through GPs.
WAPHA’s PHNs will procure services which integrate mental health, suicide prevention, alcohol and drug and social and emotional well-being within a person centred approach in primary care.