MEDIA RELEASE: New model of care supports individuals with severe mental illness in central and eastern Sydney

15 August 2017

An additional 20,000 occasions of care will be provided to more than 2,400 people living with severe mental illness in central and eastern Sydney over the next two years under the Severe Mental Illness Primary Care Supports (SMIPCS) Program.

Following a competitive tender process, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN is pleased to award $4.4 million of Commonwealth funding to One Door Mental Health to deliver the SMIPCS Program, which will operate in accordance with the National Framework for Recovery Oriented Mental Health Services.

Through this program, individuals living within the region aged between 18 and 65 years who experience severe mental illness, will be able to be supported in the primary care setting. Mental health nurses along with peer workers will engage with clients to ensure they are able to access a level of intervention that meets their current needs and preferences.

Mental health nurses and peer workers will also strengthen their relationships with consumers’ GPs to improve quality of care, physical health and support linkages to psychiatrists who bulk bill, to minimise potential barriers to accessing services.

Mental health is one of the four pillars of the Australian Government’s Long Term National Health Plan, with an estimated four million Australian adults experiencing mental illness each year. The emphasis on the diversity of needs within a population and the changing needs of individuals over time is more broadly reflected as primary mental health care service delivery moves toward a stepped care approach.

Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, Acting CEO, Nathalie Hansen said, “Around 46,500 residents within our region are experiencing severe mental illness, and we recognise that each person’s journey to recovery is unique. This program is just one step towards meeting the needs of our community and we remain committed to building the capacity of the mental health sector as a whole.”

CESPHN’s Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) began transitioning to the SMIPCS program on 1 August 2017. Co-design workshops were held across the region to develop the new model of care and were attended by a wide range of stakeholders, including current MHNIP service providers.

“Community and service provider consultation has been key to the commissioning process, to understand the specific mental health needs of our region. One Door Mental Health clearly demonstrated the capacity and experience required to conduct the program in a way that best meets these needs,” continued Ms Hansen.

A smooth transition will be the priority for Central and Eastern Sydney PHN and One Door Mental Health in the coming weeks, ensuring MHNIP mental health nurses are engaged in the new model of care and that there is no disruption to consumer care.

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Media Contact
Celeste Hankins
CESPHN Team Leader Marketing and Communications
Ph: 0419 214 217
E: c.hankins@cesphn.com.au