Purro Birik - 15

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Purro Birik - (Healthy Spirit)



6. Proposed Service Improvement Strategies arising from Consultations


Many proposed throughout the first and second round of consultations for improving both mental health services provided through the public hospital system, and Koori community controlled social, emotional and cultural wellbeing services. Those strategies have been grouped under the headings of:


  • local partnerships;

  • coordination and planning;

  • training;

  • service development;

  • resourcing.


6.1 Partnerships


The development of locai partnership agreements between Koori health services and mental health services was strongly supported by both parties during the consultations. The potential benefits of a local agreement that enhances the level of understanding between Koori health services and mental health services have been clearly recognised. Such an agreement could: provide improved clarity of roles; define and set up processes for culturally appropriate service provision; monitor access, responsiveness and quality; establish protocols for assessment, admission, review, and the development of treatment plans; and provide a forum for continuos improvement of local service provision. A partnership could also ad&;ess the management of specific issues such as community treatment orders.


The development of protocols and partnerships between mental health services and Koori health services needs to account for the different systems for aged, adult, and chil~l and adolescent mental health services.


It is considered essential that partnerships be formed between Koori health services and mental health services at the local level, with each service identifying a portfolio holder for the partnership. The portfolio holders could then work together to develop the partnership and address issues as they arise. The portfolio approach is also thought to be an effective way of building in accountability between the partners of any agreement.


It is also considered important that VACCHO and the Mental Health Branch establish and support a mechanism to endorse the partnerships. This could specify key issues that should be addressed by partnership agreements.


Facilitation of the establishment of agreements is considered important to ensure a level of consistency in approach, to provide direction in local areas where there are no existing partnership arrangements, and to provide support to small Koori health services that may be unfamiliar with the mental health service system. Consultation participants proposed that VACCHO have a mandate to facilitate as required.


It is important to acknowledge the value placed on the relationship between the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and St. Vincents Hospital Mental Health Service, particularly in relation to the flexibility of admissions to the five acute inpatient beds purchased specifically for Koori clients. However, it is acknowledged that other relationships need to be developed.


It is difficult to identify how to proceed with this issue in the metropolitan area. The small number of metropolitan Koori health services, the heavy reliance on the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service in Fitzroy to provide a metropolitan if not Statewide service, and the large number of mental health services result in some significant logistical problems.


A proposed solution is for the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service to concentrate on developing stronger relationships with the CATT teams and inpatient units in the areas with the highest Koori populations. Even this limited approach is likely to require a dedicated role within the service, given the requirements of establishing and maintaining a professional relationship across multiple services at a level that will result in a more culturally appropriate, timely response.



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