Improving access to drug treatment
On Friday 16 December 2016, Anne Congleton, Deputy Secretary, Community Participation, Sport and Recreation, Health and Wellbeing, announced changes to the drug treatment system to improve access for clients. From 1 July 2017, treatment services gain responsibility for delivering comprehensive assessment and treatment planning for voluntary clients. Catchment-based intake services will continue to deliver intake, triage and screening, brief interventions and bridging support up until the client’s assessment.
This announcement is part of a program of work being progressed in response to the Victorian Government's Independent review of new arrangements for the delivery of mental health community support services and drug treatment services (the Aspex Review) which was released in November 2015.
The review identified aspects of the system that are working well and identified areas where there are issues or challenges and considered options and potential solutions to better meet the needs of people with severe and persistent mental illness and those with addictions.
Since the review was released, the department has consulted with more than 100 drug treatment providers, peer workers, consumers and families to understand these issues and help shape improvements to the system. In particular, intake and assessment was consistently nominated as a top priority for improvement.
The department would like to thank those organisations and individuals that have worked closely with the department over the last two years to assist with reviewing the intake and assessment process, and with planning for the improved model, including vital ongoing support from the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA) and the Sector Reference Group on Adult Community-Based Alcohol and Other Drug Service Delivery.
The department is currently progressing a range of other initiatives in response to the Aspex Review. Improving access to drug treatment by making changes to assessment arrangements is a key step in a program of service system improvement work which will continue across 2017.
Alcohol and other Drug Sector Reference Group
The Alcohol and other Drug (AOD) Sector Reference Group comprises a cross-section of providers, peak organisations and other expert stakeholders. The group was established in January 2016 to provide strategic advice to the department on the prioritisation and implementation of the recommendations of the Aspex Review.
The group met four times in 2016. Key issues discussed include identification of priority areas for action stemming from the review such as client pathways, intake and assessment, data integrity, rural- specific issues and potential flexibility in funding and service delivery.
Following extensive sector and community consultation, the majority of the Aspex Review recommendations have now been implemented or are underway. Into the future, the department will require further advice on priority areas for action for broader alcohol and other drug sector development initiatives.
The terms of reference of the group is available from the 'Downloads' section below.
Group members have been selected as experts in their own right, and their views should not be regarded as representative of any particular organisation or member group.
Members of the group are:
- Mr Laurence Alvis (UnitingCare ReGen)
- Mr Sam Biondo (Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association)
- Dr Lynda Berends (Research consultant)
- Ms Yvonne Bonomo (St Vincents)
- Ms Bel Berry (Peninsula Health)
- Mr Andrew Bruun (Youth Support and Advocacy Service)
- Ms Pip Carew (Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation)
- Ms Juanita Davies (The Salvation Army)
- Mr Bernie Durkin (EACH)
- Mr Stefan Gruenert (Odyssey House)
- Mr Craig Holloway (Victorian Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation)
- Ms Rebecca Lorains (Primary Care Connect)
- Dr Cameron Loy (The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners)
- Mr Dan Lubman (Turning Point)
- Ms Sue Medson OAM (Gippsland Lakes Community Health)
- Ms Lyn Morgain (CoHealth)
- Mr Alan Murnane (Inner South Community Health)
- Ms Sharon O'Reilly (Consultant)
- Ms Heather Pickard (Self Help Addiction Resource Centre Inc.)
- Ms Jacinta Pollard (Caraniche)
- Ms Emma Rafferty (Association of Participating Service Users)
- Ms Robyn Reeves (Ballarat Community Health)
- Mr Paul Tuvey (Victorian Healthcare Association)
- Mr Vaughan Winter (Australian Community Support Organisation)
Broader Sector Engagement
In addition to the Alcohol and other Drug Sector Reference Group, the department convened a number of consultation forums with alcohol and other drug service providers across Victoria. This has provided an opportunity for treatment services to provide advice on priority areas of work on the Aspex review recommendations, as well as opportunities to improve service integration.
An all-day workshop was held with the alcohol and other drug treatment sector on Friday 22 April 2016. A report from the consultation workshop is available in 'Downloads' on this page.
In April 2016, rural-specific community-based alcohol and drug treatment sector provider meetings were held in each of the four operational divisions in Benalla, Traralgon, Ballarat and Bendigo.
If you are interested in providing input on the matters raised in these reports, or the Aspex review, please contact your regional office in the first instance, or email AOD.email@example.com.
If you have further questions about the AOD Sector Reference Group, please contact Lexi Marsh, Senior Policy Officer, Drugs Policy and Reform at firstname.lastname@example.org.