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:
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,