Using the NMHSPF to plan for services

Objective 4.1:

Align commissioning approaches between funding bodies

Action 4.1.1

Utilise the NMHSPF tools consistently across Brisbane North to help project demand for mental health services and required service configuration

As key funders of mental health services in the Brisbane North region, both Qld Health and the PHN are using the National Mental Health Service Planning Framework (NMHSPF) Planning Support Tool (PST) to estimate the need for services into the future.

The NMHSPF allows users to estimate need and expected demand for mental health care, as well as the level and mix of mental health services required for a given population. The model draws on evidence and expert opinion to:

  • Estimate the prevalence of mental illness across all disorders within the Australian population, by severity
  • Assign expected service demand rates to each severity level
  • Split the population with demand for services into particular need groups based on age group, severity of disorder and complexity
  • For each need group, specify care profiles – which outline the average types and quantities of services required over a 12-month period to provide adequate mental health care across bed-based, community clinical and psychosocial support services
  • Describe the staffing, salary and operational parameters associated with different service types

Key Achievements

Both Qld Health and the PHN used the NMHSPF to assist with planning new services for people with severe and complex mental illness in the region.  The PST was used to estimate the prevalence of severe mental illness within the region, gain an understanding of the care profiles that would need to be delivered to achieve the best outcomes, and project the workforce necessary to deliver these care profiles.  Following this, both funders determined which MHNSPF care profiles would be most appropriately funded by which entity – to try and reduce duplication of services, and make best use of the resources available to provide services in the region.

Key Learnings

Using the NMHSPF allows funders and service providers to have a shared understanding of the need in the region, and supports decisions regarding what services to fund to be based on data.  Of course, considerable limitations still exist – including resources being available to action what the NMHSPF projects, and the availability of the workforce to deliver the services – but using a common tool to guide decision-making is a valuable improvement.

What’s Next?

Qld Health, the HHS and the PHN are committed to working collaboratively to deliver a Regional Resourcing Plan. Work is currently being undertaken to map existing services against the NMHSPF. Once complete, a gap analysis will provide guidance for resource allocation decisions. This Plan is expected to be finalised by 2021.

Get involved

If you would like to know more about Planning for Wellbeing, or if you’re interested in getting involved, please drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you.