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ERH gets funding for mental health services

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February 15, 2018

ECHUCA Regional Health has been funded to develop and provide primary mental health services for Campaspe Shire.

ECHUCA Regional Health has been funded to develop and provide primary mental health services for Campaspe Shire.

It comes after ERH was last week named one of 11 preferred providers for $4.8 million in funding for primary mental health services across the region.

ERH executive director of primary care Merrin Prictor said while the details were still being finalised, it would develop and provide psychological therapy services and primary mental health clinical co-ordination.

‘‘ERH will work with local GP clinics to provide these valuable new services across the shire,’’ she said.

‘‘This will particularly support people with depression and anxiety.’’

The new service will replace the Primary Mental Health Clinical Co-ordination Program service and is expected to be funded for 18 months.

Announcing the tenders, Murray PHN integration executive director Penny Wilkinson said all preferred providers had to demonstrate strong GP engagement and local network knowledge as general practice was key to providing high quality primary mental health services. Ms Wilkinson said the allocation of Federal Government funding for 2018-19 would underpin the implementation of integrated Stepped Care in primary mental health across the Murray PHN region.

‘‘I am excited about the change and opportunity that will accompany our implementation of stepped care in the region,’’ she said.

‘‘Change is disruptive so we will be working to support our current providers as we work towards our future providers.’’

Stepped care is defined as an evidence-based system of a hierarchy of interventions, from least intensive to most intensive, matched to the individual’s needs. ERH will now work with Murray PHN staff to finalise contracts and service level agreements.

At the time same, current and preferred service providers will work together to smooth the transition for patients into the new system.

‘‘I’m confident we have generated change with a robust, transparent process,’’ Ms Wilkinson said.

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