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PUB104 Australian Health Care Systems

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PUB104 Australian Health Care Systems Question: Choose one of the following service systems – residential aged care, drug and alcohol services, mental health services, disability services, community health services, Indigenous health services. Then: Describe the health and social characteristicsof people who typically use this service (age, gender, health conditions, socioeconomic status and other relevant social circumstances). Describe which health service providers typically work in this service (types of professions), examples of services (examples of organisations and types of services) and how users access the services (can they access directly, through a referral, through hospital services, etc). Include how the services are funded(state/federal, if there is any out-of-pocket payment or private/public insurance coverage, etc) and examples of how these components and services are integratedinto the Australian health care system (where they fit in the broader system). Identify and describe two policies relevant to the service system you selected. Explain how the policy influences the service providers and its impact on the patient/service user. Identify the strengths and limitationsof the policies in meeting the needs of patients/service users. Critically analyse and discusshow the policies and service system could be improved based on the strengths and weaknesses you identified, and how these could impact the broader Australian health system (other service systems and providers). For example, you can give an example of another service that may be affected by improving the service system you discussed in this essay, or how the suggestions could improve service delivery/ funding/ patient experience/ policy. Your critical analyses should include evidence from reliable sources to support your suggestions, and are strengthened by examples of how the suggestions would be carried out, who the relevant provider would be and where resources such as funding and skills may come from. Answer: Introduction Approximately more than 20% of the Australian population suffers from mental illness each year with the indigenous Australians scoring high than the non-indigenous people (Jorm, Bourchier, Cvetkovski & Stewart, 2012). Government of Australia has framed several policies in order the uplift the mental health set up of the population. The following report throws detailed light of two of the existing mental health policies in Australia, their strength and limitation and how these policies can be refined further for the betterment of the mankind. The report also briefly discusses the health and social characteristics of the mental health services with a critically analysis of the impact on the patients and the service providers. Components And Organizations Of The Australian Mental Health Service Health and Social Characteristics of People who use this Service While mental health issue covers a wide range of mental disorders and largely varies in degree among the patients, the mental health care service of Australia ensures that any Australian with, or at risk of mental health problem, can gain access to the basic mental health and support services. While mental health service can be offered to anyone, usually the Australians experiencing a major depressive disorder or anxiety problem in the pre-old age (age between 30 to 55 years) seek mental health support. Schizophrenia and Dementia occur more frequently amongst the old and aged Australians, who are aged at least above 70 years, while women are found to suffer more from anxiety than men, and seek healthcare service here. A large number of Torres and Strait Island people, aged 15 and older, suffer from major mental health disorders, which include depression, anxiety, psychosis, personality disorder and substance abuse and dependence issue, for which they seek mental healthcare support as well (McGorry et al., 2013). Health Service Providers Typically Work In This Service Various healthcare service providers offer mental healthcare service and community service to the Australians seeking mental healthcare support, and these include the psychiatrists, psychologists, general practitioners, healthcare nurses, and social workers. While the GP, psychologist and psychiatrist can perform the mental health assessment of the patient, and prescribe necessary medications, the nurse assists in mental behaviour modification programs and counsels the patient. The social workers, on the other hand, help in comforting and consoling the patients in distress, create awareness amongst them regarding the preventive ones, and offer support to help the drug addicts overcome substance addiction. Examples Of Services  There are various ways in which a patient can gain access to the mental healthcare service in Australia. First of all, there are mental healthcare institutions offering round the clock service to the patients during emergency, whereby the patient can go to the hospital or other residential care for the same. Often a patient seeking mental health service also visits the hospital for seeking outpatient service, in case his disease is curable by counselling and medication, and does not require round the clock observation, as in the case of dementia. At the same time, one can also gain access to the psychologists or any other allied health Users Access Of The Services Provided with the help of various initiatives funded by the government such as the Better Access initiative, enables the mentally ill patients of Australia gain Medicare subsidized access to various psychologists and other allied health providers after the preparation of a Mental Health Treatment Plan by a particular healthcare practitioner.  The Better Access Initiative also helps the patients gain access to the concerned psychiatrist directly through referral, who will require setting aside his appointments if the patient referred to him, needs immediate attention (Kidd et al., 2015). Funding Of The Services Funding of the medicine cost, treatment cost or any other medical fee associated with the treatment of the patient is an important consideration. It is important to note that the Australian government subsidises any form of mental health-related services through the MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) and prescribed medications through the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) and RPBS (Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) (McGorry et al., 2014). State and territory governments fund and deliver services and assist with broader needs, such as accommodation support.  There are various government funds as well, which fund mental patients during specific occasions, that includes the National Disability Insurance Scheme, that fund any person with psychiatric disability, who has a permanent or significant functional impairment. The government, in order to improve the access to basic mental healthcare service, has created the Primary Health Networks, which is not only entrusted with the duty of leading mental health planning, but also integrating the same with the state, territory as well as the non-government organization and drug and substance use prevention centres. Current Policy Debate And Service Model Australian Government, Department of Health framed fifth National Mental Health Plan on 19th of December 2016. This plan will promote the establishment of a national approach to collaborate government effort over the coming five years (2017 to 2022) over the up gradation of the mental health service. The policy will mainly focus on the regional planning at an integrated level along with service delivery. It will also promote coordinated support and treatment for the people who are suffering from complex mental illness. This five years policy plan also aims to curb the suicide rate among the aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander via uplift the physical health of the people and reducing the stigma of discrimination. Finally the policy also aims to increase the safety and quality of the mental health service in Australia. This policy will influence the service providers to provide equal mental health support to both the indigenous and non-indigenous people in Australia and thus reducing health inequalities. This policy will have a long term affect on the patient as it will decrease the incidence of mental health related casualties (suicide). The policy will all be beneficial for people residing in suburbs as it will facilitate the growth of the mental health service regionally (Australian Government Department of Health, 2016). As per the National Health Reform Act, 2011, an independent government agency, Independent Hospital Pricing Authority will finalise the development of the Australian Mental Health Care Classification (AMHCC). The AMHCC is assigned to uplift the meaningfulness of the mental health care service with the clinical prospective. It aims in the improvement of the cost-effectiveness of the healthcare service and will also support optimised implementation of the new mental health service models. The policy is majorly beneficial for the people who overlook the mental health complication as kind of mood swings due to escalating price involved in the treatment. The policy will benefit the mental health care providers to work in an organised set up (Mental Health Services in Australia). Strength And Limitations Of The Policies The strength of the National Mental Health Plan, 2016 is it promotes equality in health. As per the research non-indigenous population in Australia has an average life span of 70 to 80 years and this is estimated to be 17 years longer than that of the Australian aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Moreover non-indigenous people are less likely to die by suicide or get hospitalised by mental health problems. This policy aims in reducing the discrimination in the field of mental service while promoting active suicide prevention campaigns among the Australia aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander. Suicide is the major cause of death among the Australian youth and aboriginals and has significant negative effects on the emotional balance of the family members. The National Suicide Prevention Strategy provides “Living is for Everyone Framework (LIFE)” under this policy. LIFE provides an overreaching evidence based program which is strategic in nature the outlines the vision, mission, principles and proposed outcomes for the suicide prevention plan in Australia. However the limitation of the policy is, it did not aim to generate awareness among the people living in rural areas about equitable access of the mental health (Australian Health Care Associate, 2014). The strength of National Health Reform Act, 2011 is it improves the transparency of the funding of public hospitals via national health funding pool. It also aims in improving the responsiveness and accountability of the need of the local community via establishment of the special local hospital networks (LHNs) and other medicare locals.  It also plans to improve the cost-effective further via introducing several financial arrangements for the mental health in state and in the territories. However, though the health reform act promote optimised implementation of the mental health service it failed to bridge the gap between the optimised access of mental health service among the indigenous and non-indigenous people in Australia (Administrator National Health Funding Pool Australia, 2017). Critical Understanding As per my understanding, despite two decade long investment for improving the mental health service, the mental health of Australia has not improved significantly. This is due the fact that investment approach was not taken in right direction and lesser emphasis was given over prevention. Mental disorder are common in Australia however, the majority of the people who are suffering from mental illness did not seek or fail to avail professional help (Mental Health Australia, 2017). Suggestion For Improvement The policies could be improved if proper and attention is given over the psychological counselling than that of the widespread use of the psychotropic medications. Psychotropic medications are not always directed towards the susceptible people. Moreover, the psychological therapies or approach undertaken may turn out to be ineffective depending on the age and the social background of the people. For example, approach that must be taken for providing mental health backup to the indigenous people must be completely different from the approach suitable for non-indigenous people. No the other hand, use of antidepressant for mild depressive disorder will not solve the stigma of the problem but rather say will elevate the overall scenario. In order to promote effective counselling to the psychotic people, it is not always possible for the mental health care professionals to reach to them at right time. In that case, digital mental health service must be taken into consideration. Digital mental health service means providing mental health via telephone and online services (Health Direct Australia, 2017).   Example Of Another Service That May Be Affected Mental health is also related to alcohol abuse. Alcohol-use disorder is common in case of mental health disorders. Such alcohol use disorder is strongly related to the gender. Men are more likely to become victim of alcohol abuse while being affected with mental health problems. Improvement in the mental health among the youth will decrease the chances of alcohol abuse. Decrease in the alcohol consumption will in turn reduce the risk of the cardiac anomalies, obesity and hepatic problems. Moreover improvements in mental health will also curb the rate of smoking, mostly common among the young indigenous people in Australia and thereby reducing the chances of respiratory problems (Teesson, Hall, Lynskey & Degenhardt, 2010). Conclusion So from the above discussion it can be concluded that government of Australia has framed several policies to uplift the mental health set up among the Australian population. However, there lie certain gaps in the approach. Proper funding is not enough to stabilise the mental health setup. Adequate survey, rigours cancelling and digital mental health setup are few of the most important way to fight back against such problems. References Evaluation of Suicide Prevention Activities. (2014). 1st ed. [ebook] Melbourne: Australian Health Care Associate, p.7. Available at:$File/evalsuic.pdf [Accessed 12 Oct. 2017]. (2016). Department of Health | Fifth National Mental Health Plan. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Oct. 2017]. Improving Mental Health Services. (2017). Mental Health Australia. Retrieved 12 October 2017, from Improving mental health. (2017). Retrieved 12 October 2017, from Jorm, A. F., Bourchier, S. J., Cvetkovski, S., & Stewart, G. (2012). Mental health of Indigenous Australians: a review of findings from community surveys. Medical Journal of Australia, 196(2), 118. Kidd, S., Kenny, A., & McKinstry, C. (2015). The meaning of recovery in a regional mental health service: an action research study. Journal of advanced nursing, 71(1), 181-192. McGorry, P. D., Goldstone, S. D., Parker, A. G., Rickwood, D. J., & Hickie, I. B. (2014). Cultures for mental health care of young people: an Australian blueprint for reform. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(7), 559-568. McGorry, P., Bates, T., & Birchwood, M. (2013). Designing youth mental health services for the 21st century: examples from Australia, Ireland and the UK. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 202(s54), s30-s35. (2017). National mental health policies and strategies. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Oct. 2017]. (2017). National Health Reform Agreement summary | Public Hospital Funding. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Oct. 2017]. Teesson, M., Hall, W., Lynskey, M., & Degenhardt, L. (2000). Alcohol?and drug?use disorders in Australia: implications of the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 34(2), 206-213.

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