Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced a new three-year funding model for the Primary Health Networks, which provides more certainty to organisations tendering to deliver services.
Minister Hunt announced that the 31 PHNs would share $1.45 billion over the next three years to commission mental health services. The funding break-down includes:
- $177 million for mental health nurses
- $77 million for suicide prevention including Indigenous suicide
- $74 million for the mental health of those in residential aged care
- $89 million for Indigenous mental health
- $617 million for youth mental health including headspace
- $399 million for psychological therapies for hard to reach populations
The $1.45 billion, three-year commitment represents a $170 million increase compared to the previous three years.
One of the biggest changes for the sector is the move to a new PHN funding model, which sees funding for mental health services extended for three years. Each year, funding will be extended for a further year if the PHN meets agreed performance measures.
This will deliver three years of funding certainty and benefits community mental health organisations, because it means they will no longer have to re-tender for services every year.
The Minister has said the new funding process will improve the PHNs ability to ensure services can be commissioned well in advance and to provide longer-term funding certainty for the sector.
The short-term nature of funding contracts has consistently been raised as an issue by QAMH members, particularly those operating in rural and remote areas, where there are additional challenges in delivering services and attracting staff.
The new PHN funding model and longer-term approach to tendering is a welcome change. As National Mental Health Commission chair Lucy Brogden said one-year contracts are “just not a good way to operate”.
QAMH will provide further updates about these changes as more information becomes available. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Read the Minister’s announcement here.