HNE Mental Health Service – Enhancement and Formation of Adult Acute Care



ASMOF received recent correspondence in relation to the HNE Mental Health Service – Enhancement and Formation of Adult Acute Care.

We have been advised that funding enhancement to the HNE Mental Health Services has been prioritised by the Chief Executive of the HNE Local Health District.  This enhancement will see the establishment of an Adult Acute Care Team to service the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle Areas.

We have been informed that the Adult Acute Care Team:

  • is needed to ensure Mental Health Services regain system capacity, within existing hospital based services, to respond to the needs of people with mental illness, as well as ensuring that the best care is provided at the right time, in the right place;
  • will be operationally managed by Jessica Johnston, Acute Team Leader Newcastle Mental Health Service – who reports to Paul McCombie, Service Manager Newcastle Mental Health Service;
  • will provide an alternative to a hospital admission to people in the acute phase of their illness;
  • in addition to the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle Community Teams, will set up a duty clinician 5 days per week, where same day or next day appointments are provided;
  • will include the existing 5 FTE from Newcastle and 5 FTE from the Lake Macquarie Adult Community Mental Health Teams along with an additional 11 FTE working over 7 days, morning & afternoon;
  • will be provided by teams of 2 clinicians in the patient’s home;
  • will work closely with the Psychiatric Emergency Care Centre, Emergency Departments and wards to ensure that those who can be supported within the community, by the Adult Acute Care team, are not unnecessarily admitted into hospital; and
  • is an enhancement to the service to meet the Commission’s plan and future needs of patients in the continuation of Excellence for Every Patient Every Time. 

For your reference, the link to the Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 is seen here

A Working Party and Steering Committee are being established, that will link in with the overarching Community Mental Health Model of Care Work that is currently underway.  Recruitment is proposed to commence as soon as possible, whilst the Model of Care and pathways are being developed.  It is understood that information sessions with staff will be occurring over the coming months to participate in discussion.

ASMOF will be involved in the consultation process.  We have requested further information on the level of medical staffing (including level of consultant cover) to the Adult Acute Care Team and the proposed model of care/services for consideration by our membership.

If possible please direct your feedback or comments to Juliette Rex on no by 4pm next Friday, 6th October 2017.     

Note: ASMOF is also advised that:

  • Lake Macquarie and Newcastle Services: currently have a small number of community staff who provide people with acute mental illness treatment to prevent admission to hospital. Due to the small amount of resources and the hours of coverage this is mostly done via phone intervention, which is only partially effective for small numbers of individuals;
  • Mental Health Service at Mater Campus: continually experience high presentations and occupancy within its Inpatient Units.  This can then slow the flow of patients out of Emergency Departments and other acute beds within the District, which in turn means that people’s experience of care can be compromised.
  • Lake Macquarie Adult Community Mental Health Team – there will be a change in reporting lines from the Service Manager Lake Macquarie to Service Manager Newcastle Mental Health Service and change in accustomed placed of work, as they will be based at James Fletcher Hospital Campus.