Commissioning in the context of a Primary Health Network

Commissioning – what is it?

A process of strategic planning and investment in quality primary health care services with the aim of maximising health gain for the population and efficiency for the health system.

It can be defined as

  • A whole of organisation approach targeted specifically at addressing the health needs of the local community
  • Clearly focussed on developing quality primary health care services and associated interventions that deliver better health outcomes
  • Promote joint working and coordination across the whole health care system for the benefits of the patients

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Primary Health Network Commissioning Principles

These principles have been designed by PHNs in consultation with the Department of Health, to assist in meeting the strategic objectives of the PHN Programme, and have been adapted from the National Audit Office (UK).

The Principles should be considered in the context of other ongoing work, such as the Guiding Principles between PHNs and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to improve access to health services and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  1. Understand the needs of the community by analysing data, engaging and consulting with consumers, carers, clinicians, providers, peak bodies, community organisations and other funders.
  2. Engage with potential service providers well in advance of commissioning new services.
  3. Putting outcomes for users at the heart of the strategic planning process.
  4. Adopt a whole of system approach to meeting health needs and delivering improved health outcomes.
  5. Understand the fullest practical range of providers including the contribution they could make to delivering outcomes and addressing market failure and gaps, and encourage diversity in the market.
  6. Co-design solutions; engage with stakeholders, including consumer representatives, peak bodies, community organisations, potential providers and other funders, to develop evidence-based and outcome-focused solutions.
  7. Consider investing in the capacity of providers and consumers, particularly in relation to hard-to-reach groups.
  8. Ensure procurement and contracting processes are transparent and fair, facilitating the involvement of the broadest range of suppliers, including alternative arrangements such as consortia building where appropriate.
  9. Manage through relationships; work in partnership, building connections at multiple levels of partner organisations and facilitate links between stakeholders.
  10. Develop environments high in trust through collaborative governance, shared decision-making and collective performance management.
  11. Ensure efficiency, value for money, and service enhancement.
  12. Monitor and evaluate through regular performance reports; consumer, community, clinician and provider feedback, and independent evaluation.

Our future state

A fully enabled and high functioning commissioning organisation.

Building to this level of capability over time to support improved outcomes.

Commissioned Services 2016/17

Gippsland PHN has commissioned a total of $7,276,411 of services through the enacting of 39 contracts with 32 providers to deliver services across the six local government areas of Gippsland.

A number of mental health priority areas have been commissioned as part of the Primary Mental Health Care Reform including

  • Youth mental health services – headspace
  • Psychological therapies for rural and remote, under services and/or hard to reach groups – Access to Allied Psychological Services
  • Mental health services for people with severe and complex mental illness – Mental Health Nurses in Practice
  • Community based suicide prevention activities – Incolink, Jesuit Social Services

Gippsland PHN’s After Hours Program addresses gaps in after-hours service arrangements and improve service integration. Priority is given to maintaining existing after-hours primary care that are not within the scope of the PIP After Hours Incentive and facilitate access to after-hours medical services through innovation and collaboration with regional stakeholders.

The Placed Based Flexible Funding program supports rural organisations to maintain consumer access to supplementary allied health and primary care services based on identified needs of the community. The program also supports health prevention and promotion activities to encourage people living in rural and remote communities to adopt or modify behaviours to better manage their health and wellbeing.

Through the Integrated Team Care Program GPHN commissions Care Coordinators and Outreach Workers, who also have access to supplementary services funding. This program aims to contribute to improving health outcomes for ATSI peoples with chronic conditions through better access to coordinated and multidisciplinary care.

Partners in Recovery Support Facilitators work with people living with severe and persistent mental illness with complex needs, and their carers and families, by coordinating services and supports from multiple sectors they come into contact with (and could benefit from).

Further commissioning work is underway in a number of areas including

  • Low intensity mental health services
  • ATSI specific mental health services
  • Alcohol and other drug treatment services
  • Sector development in both mental health and alcohol and other drug service provision