Skip to main content

Table 2 Exploring the policy implications of workforce and service modelling

From: Preventing mental illness: closing the evidence-practice gap through workforce and services planning

Policy question Description
What potential impact will implementing the workforce and service structures have on incidence and prevalence rates of adult mental illness? Assuming the workforce and service structures from Step 4 are implemented at full fidelity and reach all relevant individuals/families, the theoretical impact on rates of adult mental illness are estimated using population attributable fractions (PAF). PAF provide an estimate of the burden of mental illness that is attributable to an individual or group of risk factors.
What are the potential cost-savings of implementing the proposed workforce and service structures? In this activity we use estimates of the societal costs of mental illness to determine the potential savings of reducing rates of adult mental illness. This can then be compared to the costs of implementing the prevention programs.
What are the shortfalls and surpluses in terms of professionals available to deliver the proposed workforce and service structures? This activity uses Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Population Census data items on workforce, qualifications, place of work, industry, employment status, age, gender and hours of work to estimate the current and potential health workforce in defined regions. This can then be compared with the workforce estimates from Step 4 to identify major areas of imbalance.
Are current prevention activities in Australia consistent with the evidence-base? In conjunction with a review of current Australian prevention activities, we can compare against those recommended from the modelling to identify gaps in best-practice prevention provision.
What resources will be required to implement the proposed workforce and service structures? How should those resources be distributed? Explore the cost implications of alternative delivery models and workforce mixes. This will be informed by standard fees or training costs for each occupation. The impact on cost, of delivery characteristics such as occupational mix, mode of service delivery (individual/group, face-to-face/internet/phone, team-based or single clinician) will be explored. These analyses also include questions of whether services should be state or nationally funded.
How does current spending on prevention compare to that required to implement the proposed workforce and service structures? Survey the human services system to determine how much is currently being spent at a state and commonwealth level on mental illness prevention. Compare this funding to that required to deliver the proposed workforce and service structures to determine resources shortfall.
What are the education and training implications of implementing the proposed workforce and service structures? What new professional classifications might be needed to be created to deliver the proposed services? Use the analysis of competencies in Step 3 to determine what additional or specialised training might be required to prepare health, education or social welfare service professionals to staff the proposed workforce or service structures. In addition, explore new professional classifications to capture the unique set of skills required to intervene with children, adolescents and youth at risk of mental illness.
How do we translate the proposed workforce and services structures to local level changes? In this activity, we collaborate with local health, education and social welfare service administrators to explore options for changing funding and delivery model to support implementation of the proposed workforce and service structures.
What may be the additional flow-on effects of implementing the workforce and service structures recommended in the project? Quantifying the potential impacts on other domains. For example, some mental health programs may have impacts beyond mental illness (e.g. physical health, family quality of life, education attendance, work attendance).