PUB104 Australian Health Care Systems


You can choose from the following services: residential aged care, drug- and alcohol services; mental health services; disability services; community health services; Indigenous health services.

Define the social and health characteristics of people who use this service. This includes their age, gender, health conditions and socioeconomic status.

You should describe the types of health service providers who work in this service. Give examples of services and organisations. Also, how users can access these services (directly, through referrals, or through hospital services).

Two policies that are relevant to your service system should be identified and described.

Describe the impact of the policy on service providers and patients.

Identify the strengths of the policies to meet the needs patients/service users.

Analyse and discuss how the policies and the service system can be improved, based on the strengths or weaknesses that you have identified. Also consider how these might impact other service providers and the wider Australian health system.

You can provide an example of another service you think could be affected by the recommendations.

You should support your critical analyses with evidence from reliable sources. Examples of how the suggestions might be implemented, who the provider would be, and where resources like funding, skills, or other resources may be available will strengthen them.



More than 20% of Australians suffer from mental illness every year. The indigenous Australians score higher than non-indigenous persons (Jorm Bourchier Cvetkovski, Stewart, 2012).

The Australian Government has developed several policies to improve the mental health of its citizens.

This report provides a detailed overview of two existing mental health policies in Australia. It also discusses their strengths and limitations and suggests ways they can be improved for the benefit of all.

This report briefly addresses the social and health characteristics of mental health services, as well as the impact on patients and service providers.

The Australian Mental Health Service: Components and Organizations

This Service has a positive impact on the health and social characteristics of people who use it.

Mental health issues can cover a variety of mental disorders, and the severity of each patient’s condition will vary. However, the Australian mental health service ensures that every Australian who has or is at risk for a mental disorder can access basic mental health services and support.

Although mental health services are available to everyone, most people with a major depression or anxiety problem between the ages of 30 and 55 seek out mental health support.

Dementia and Schizophrenia are more common among the elderly and those over 70. Women are more likely to experience anxiety than men.

Many Torres and Strait Islanders aged 15 or older suffer from major mental disorders. These include anxiety, depression, personality disorder, substance abuse and dependence, and psychosis.

This service is where most health service providers work.

There are many healthcare providers that offer mental health care and community service to Australians. These include psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners as well as nurses and social workers.

The psychiatrist, psychologist, and GP can conduct a mental health assessment and prescribe medications. However, the nurse counsels and assists with mental behavior modification programs.

Social workers on the other side help to comfort and console patients in distress. They also help to raise awareness about preventive measures and provide support for drug addicts in overcoming their addiction.

Access to mental healthcare services in Australia can be obtained in many ways.

There are many mental healthcare institutions that offer 24-hour emergency care. Patients can also go to the hospital for treatment.

In the event that the patient is able to receive medication and counselling, and the disease is not incurable, he can also visit the hospital to seek outpatient care.

You can also access psychologists and other allied health professionals at the hospital.

Users Have Access to The Services

With the assistance of several government initiatives, such as the Better Access Initiative, the Australian mentally ill can get Medicare-subsidized access to psychologists and other health professionals after a Mental Health Treatment Plan has been prepared by a specific healthcare practitioner.

Patients can also access the psychiatrist they need directly via referral. However, he will have to be able to set aside his appointments if the patient, referred by a healthcare practitioner, requires immediate attention (Kidd and al., 2015).

Finance of the Services

It is important to consider funding the medication cost, treatment cost and any other medical fees associated with the treatment.

Important to remember that the Australian government subsists any form of mental-health-related services through MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) and prescribed medicines through the PBS and RPBS(Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme). (McGorry et al. 2014).

The services are funded and delivered by the state and territory governments, as well as providing support for more general needs such as accommodation.

There are also a variety of government funds that provide funding for mental patients. This includes the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It provides financial support to anyone with a psychiatric disability who has a significant or permanent functional impairment.

To improve access to basic mental healthcare services, the government created the Primary Health Networks. This is a non-governmental organization that integrates mental health plans with the state, territories, and non-governmental organizations.

Current Policy Debate and Service Model

The fifth National Mental Health Plan was created by the Australian Government’s Department of Health on December 19, 2016.

This plan promotes the creation of a national approach for collaborating government effort over five years (2017-2022) to up gradation the mental health service.

This policy will be primarily focused on regional planning at an integrated level and service delivery.

The policy will promote coordinated care and support for people with complex mental illnesses.

The five-year policy plan aims to reduce the suicide rate of Torres Strait Islander and aboriginal peoples by improving their physical health and reducing discrimination.

The policy also aims at improving the quality and safety of Australia’s mental health services.

The policy will encourage service providers to offer equal mental health care to indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, thereby reducing health inequalities.

The policy will have a long-term effect on the patient, as it will reduce suicide rates.

People who live in suburbs will benefit from the policy as it will encourage the development of the regional mental health service (Australian Government Department of Health 2016, 2016).

The National Health Reform Act 2011, which established an independent government agency, Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, will complete the Australian Mental Health Care Classification (AMHCC) development.

The AMHCC’s mission is to improve the quality of mental health care services with a clinical perspective.

The AMHCC will help to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the healthcare system. It will also assist in the implementation of new models of mental health care.

This policy will be a major benefit to those who don’t realize the importance of mental health complications such as mood swings and the rising cost of treatment.

The policy will help mental health providers work in an organized setting (Mental Health Services in Australia).

Strength and Limitations of the Policies

The National Mental Health Plan 2016, 2016’s strength is its promotion of equality in health.

Research shows that the average lifespan of non-indigenous Australians is 70-80 years. This is 17 years more than the lives of Australian Torres Strait Islander and aboriginal Australians.

Non-indigenous people are also less likely to commit suicide or be hospitalized with mental health issues.

The policy promotes suicide prevention among Australia’s Torres Strait Islander and Australia aboriginals.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australian youth and aboriginals. It also has significant adverse effects on the emotional well-being of family members.

This policy is outlined in the National Suicide Prevention Strategy’s “Living is for Everyone Framework” (LIFE).

LIFE is a comprehensive, evidence-based program that is strategic in its scope. It outlines the vision and mission, principles, and potential outcomes of the suicide prevention plan for Australia.

The problem with the policy is that it didn’t aim to raise awareness about mental health in rural areas (Australian Health Care Associate 2014).

National Health Reform Act (2011) is a transparent funding source for public hospitals.

Through the establishment of special local hospitals networks (LHNs), and other medicare locals, it aims to improve the accountability and responsiveness of the local community.

The plan is to make the process more cost-effective by introducing financial arrangements that will support mental health in the state and territories.

Despite the fact that the health reform act encourages optimal implementation of the mental healthcare service, it fails to bridge the gap between optimised access for both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians (Administrator National Health Funding Pool Australia 2017,).

According to my understanding, despite a decade-long investment in improving Australia’s mental health system, there has been no significant improvement in mental health.

This is because the investment approach was not in the right direction and less emphasis was placed on prevention.

Mental disorders are quite common in Australia. However, most people with mental disorder did not seek professional help or failed to get it (Mental Health Australia 2017, 2017).

Suggestions for Improvement

It is possible to improve the policies if more attention is paid to psychological counselling than the widespread use and abuse of psychotropic medication.

Psychotropic medication are not always targeted at vulnerable people.

The effectiveness of any psychological therapy or approach may vary depending on their age and social background.

The approach to provide mental health support for indigenous peoples must differ from that for non-indigenous individuals.

However, the use of mild depressive disorder antidepressants will not remove stigma but will help improve the overall situation.

Effective counselling for psychotic patients is possible only if the mental health professionals are able to reach them promptly.

Digital mental health services are an option.

Digital mental health service is the provision of mental health services via online and telephone (Health Direct Australia 2017, 2017).

Example of another service that may be affected

Alcohol abuse can also impact mental health.

Mental health disorders can also be caused by alcohol-use disorder.

This alcohol abuse disorder is closely linked to gender.

While alcohol abuse is more common in men, it’s more likely that they will be affected by mental health issues.

The chances of alcohol abuse will be reduced if there is improvement in mental health among youth.

A decrease in alcohol intake will reduce the likelihood of developing hepatic, cardiac and obesity problems.

Moreover, improvements in mental health can reduce the prevalence of smoking among young Australian indigenous peoples, which is a common problem, and thereby lower the risk of developing respiratory problems (Teesson Hall, Lynskey & Degenhardt (2010)).


The above discussion shows that the Australian government has developed a number of policies to improve the mental health system in Australia.

There are however some gaps in this approach.

The proper funding is not sufficient to stabilize the mental health system.

These problems can be addressed by a combination of adequate survey, rigours cancellation and digital mental healthcare setup.

Refer to

Evaluation of Suicide Prevention Activities.

[ebook] Melbourne, Australian Health Care Associate. p. 7.

Fifth National Mental Health Plan.

Improving Mental Health Services.

Mental Health Australia.

Improve mental health.

A review of community surveys on mental health in Indigenous Australians.

Medical Journal of Australia, 296(2), 118.

An action research study on the meaning of recovery in a regional psychological health service.

Journal of advanced nursing, 71.1(1), 181-182.

An Australian blueprint for reform: Cultures for mental healthcare for young people.

The Lancet Psychiatry 1(7), 559-568.

The 21st century design of youth mental health services: examples from Australia and Ireland.

The British Journal of Psychiatry 202(s54), s30–s35.

Strategies and national mental health policies.

Public Hospital Funding.

The implications of the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in Australia on alcohol?and drug use disorders

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 34(2), 206-213.

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