Improving your service system

The way care is provided to an individual is the most essential element in their experience of a health service system. No one wants to feel ‘lost in the system’ or unheard.

EMPHN’s MH&AOD Directorate values care delivered in this way:
  • Understanding what’s important for the consumer means that the consumer is at the centre of their healthcare, involved in decision-making, and treated with respect and dignity. This is person-centred care.
  • A whole-of-person approach considers the many facets of an individual’s life, such as mental and physical health, family, work, education, housing, parenting, finances, social and cultural life, and friendships and relationships. We consider mental, physical, and social health needs together, with an understanding that one may impact on others.
  • Collaborative, team-based approaches bring together the consumer and carer (where relevant) with service providers, specialist practitioners, clinicians, support staff and peer workers, to form a care team and develop a care plan. This collaborative plan identifies the most effective support for the consumer, drawing upon the skills, knowledge, and experience of the care team, who meet regularly to review the consumer’s needs.
  • Quality and safety are priorities, to ensure that the human rights of people accessing care are upheld and that services comply with legislation, best practice and evidence-informed standards, and continuous quality improvement.
We work across our region in this way:
  • Funding for services: EMPHN gets services ‘on the ground’ by providing funding through a commissioning process, which is a core business for our PHN. EMPHN’s Mental Health & AOD Directorate identifies gaps in services across our region and works with our community to design and fund services to improve the care and support people receive. It’s about the right care, in the right place, at the right time, available through the services we commission.
  • Integrated regional planning: Mental health, AOD, and suicide prevention services need to collaborate and make better use of resources to meet people’s needs. Service gaps must be identified and new pathways between services created. To this end, consumers, carers, and health care services in our region have developed a Regional Integrated Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs and Suicide Prevention Plan to ensure that services throughout our region are working together to better meet the heath needs of the community. EMPHN system integration initiatives are detailed here.
  • Stepped care approach: This involves providing the level of care that is required to match an individual’s mental health needs at any one time. A range of support options, of varying intensity, are tailored to the consumer to provide person-centred care. We work with health services in our region to understand which services best support people at different times, and we work to connect those services so people don’t fall through the gaps.
  • Lived experience: People with lived experience of mental illness, alcohol and other drugs, and the impacts of suicide, can bring fundamental insights into the improvement of services and treatment. EMPHN actively involves people with lived experience in the design, delivery, and evaluation of the services we commission. We look to them to lead change and be participants in system reform. They are experts by experience.
  • Partnerships and alliances: To achieve collaboration across mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and suicide prevention services, the formation of partnerships and alliances is essential in our work. We partner with Local Hospital Networks, peak mental health bodies, community organisations, consumers and carers, and other key stakeholders. We are members of the Eastern Mental Health Service Coordination Alliance, North Eastern Mental Health Service Coordination Alliance, Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Care Collaborative, and Better Health North East Melbourne.
  • Community engagement: We engage with members of the community to help us understand their health needs. The people who live, work or study in our region hold valuable experience about health services and can offer insights into what works best. Likewise, professionals and industry stakeholders provide specialist knowledge. Together, they inform the programs and services we commission.