Background

Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) use is a major social issue, potentially impacting on individuals, families, and communities and presents a major challenge for health services right across the region.

It is rarely an isolated issue and communities within the region experience differing but co-existing health and social circumstances that must be understood at the local level.

Western Victoria PHN’s Acting CEO, Kate Barlow said: “We know that if alcohol and other drug use is treated early, people will recover more quickly which will significantly reduce the impact on families and the community. Often people will disclose their alcohol and other drug use to their GPs during consultations.”

In December 2015, the Commonwealth Government released the Response to the National Ice Taskforce’s Final Report. This report established a role for Primary Health Networks in the planning and commissioning of treatment services to reduce the harms associated with Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) use. Western Victoria PHN was allocated $1.6 million per annum over three years.

“This funding will empower GP’s to connect vulnerable people to treatment services in their local communities preventing their patients developing long-term addictions. Western Victoria PHN is excited to work with service providers to deliver innovative, locally designed programs that meet the needs of their community. We are committed to working alongside and supporting these services to assist those impacted or at risk of developing AOD related problems,” said Kate Barlow.

Needs assessment

Western Victoria PHN completed a detailed needs assessment across western Victoria involving community stakeholders including general practice and treatment providers.

Information from these needs assessments was collated, needs were identified and prioritised to inform commissioned services, which are outlined in the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services Context Paper.

The needs assessment process highlighted there was a significant gap in coordination and communication between treatment services and non-treatment services including general practice.

Commissioning process

Western Victoria developed a comprehensive plan, primarily focussed on one component of stepped care to:
  • Deliver early intervention services for those people requiring assistance for substance use including families affected by use
  • Build the capacity of the non-treatment sector to screen, identify use early and make timely referrals to treatment intervention services
  • Integrate and coordinate early intervention services with primary, community and emergency services.

The commissioning of the provision of Alcohol and Drug Brief Interventions commenced when a Request for Proposal (RFP) opened in February. RFP submissions closed on Tuesday 14 March 2017. This Process Timeline (link) outlines its progression.

Brief Interventions Info Graphic

New services

The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services commissioning process is now complete.

Following a rigorous tender process, Western Victoria PHN awarded funding to these service providers.

Regional area Service provider
Great South Coast  Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre Inc 
Ballarat Goldfields Uniting Care Ballarat
Geelong Otway  Barwon Child, Youth and Family
Wimmera Grampians 

Grampians Community Health 

Services commenced on Monday 1 May 2017.