Deakin University

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Improving collaboration between private psychiatrists, the public mental health sector and general practitioners: Evaluation of the Partnership Project

journal contribution
posted on 2004-03-01, 00:00 authored by J Pirkis, J Livingston, H Herrman, I Schweitzer, L Gill, B Morley, M Grigg, A Tanaghow, Alison YungAlison Yung, T Trauer, P Burgess
Objectives: We describe the evaluation of the Partnership Project, which was designed to improve linkages between public and private sector mental health services. We consider the Project's key elements: a Linkage Unit, designed to improve collaborative arrangements for consumers and promote systems-level and cultural change; and the expansion of private psychiatrists' roles to include supervision and training, case conferencing and secondary consultation. The evaluation aimed to describe the impacts and outcomes of these elements. Method: The evaluation used de-identified data from the Linkage Unit database, the Project's billing system, and the Health Insurance Commission (HIC). It drew on consultations with key stakeholders (semistructured interviews with 36 key informants, and information from a forum attended by over 40 carers and a meeting of five public sector and three private sector psychiatrists) and a series of case studies. Results: The Linkage Unit facilitated 224 episodes of collaborative care, many of which had positive outcomes for providers, consumers and carers. It had a significant impact at a systems level, raising consciousness about collaboration and influencing procedural changes. Thirty-two private psychiatrists consented to undertaking expanded roles, and the Project was billed $78 032 accordingly. Supervision and training were most common, involving 16 psychiatrists and accounting for approximately 80% of the total hours and cost. Commonwealth expenditure on private psychiatrists' participation in the expanded roles was not associated with a reduction in benefits paid by the HIC. Key informants were generally positive about the expanded roles. Conclusions: The Project represented a considered, innovative approach to dealing with poor collaboration between the public mental health sector, private psychiatrists and GPs. The Linkage Unit achieved significant systems-level and cultural change, which has the potential to be sustained. Expanded roles for private psychiatrists, particularly supervision and training, may improve collaboration, and warrant further exploration in terms of costs and benefits.



Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry






125 - 134



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C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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