Title: Commencement of Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs General Practitioner to MetroNorth Hospital Health service/PHN
Author(s): Matt Cadman
Continuing on the expansion of the Statewide General Practitioner Liaison Officer program an identified area of need was in the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs space. The aim of this role is to improve coordination of care, identify gaps within service provision and provide connections within the hospital, PHN, general practice and community non government and government organisations. The aim is that by improving these connections and fostering integrated networks, optimal mental health could be achieved which would then enable the consumer to also access physical health care.
Currently work is being undertaken within PHN and Hospital Health Service to identify these gaps and promote engagement between organisations to improve corporation and interservice connections to facilitate improved health outcomes.
Part of this work has included organisation of GP education evenings with specialty teams from within the hospital as well as commissioned services that PHN have funded as part of their regional plan to improve the mental health outcomes of people living in the MetroNorth catchment area.
By undertaking this work it has highlighted how many medical and allied health professionals are working in silos and often unfamiliar with how to link patients into to both hospital and community services. Complicating this further is that Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs management is only one facet of the role of general practice and by the very nature of the role it is difficult for GPs to keep up to date with new referral pathways and organisations.
The opportunities within the GPLO role are vast and not only limited to the in the mental health/AOD domain within the catchment. Working in partnership with PHN, hospital services, community organisations, other members of the MetroNorth GPLO program and statewide peers, the liaison officer can explore how the medical and surgical services may be more accessible to those experiencing mental health and AOD issues.