By David Stokes, Manager Professional Issues

Many members will be well aware of the Society┬Ěs involvement in the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care Initiative; this program has funded general practitioners to be given minimal training in the assessment of mental health disorders to enable them to be registered under this initiative. Once registered, they are allowed, as one option, to refer patients to Allied Health practitioners who are experienced or trained in mental health. The mental health expert (read psychologist) is then funded to provide the client/patient for six or 12 sessions of treatment.

This program was initially funded by the Department of Health and Ageing in 2002 to last for four years. As a consequence, this program is scheduled to conclude in June 2005. In Government terms, it is now described as a "lapsing" program. As is Government practice with all lapsing programs, they have to undergo an evaluation process. The BOMHC Evaluation Working Group has assisted the Government in finding a consultant group who will conduct this evaluation. Unfortunately, the time frame for this evaluation is very short; as a result, a limited assessment of the program may be all that is possible.

The APS wants to ensure that the BOMHC Evaluation Working Group receives the best possible information regarding the effectiveness and success of BOMHC. As a consequence, we would like to encourage our members to contribute to the broader evaluation of this program by providing the APS with some more precise information about their experience with BOMHC. We will use this information to provide both positive and negative feedback to the appropriate committees, and officers in the Department of Health and Ageing, and also to enable us to lobby effectively if there is to be a BOMHC Mark 2.

Because the APS has no knowledge of which psychologists have actually been involved in BOMHC, we have to rely on our members reading InPsych and our website to urge them to fill out a questionnaire regarding BOMHC. This note is to alert you that in the next week or so we will be announcing the presence of a questionnaire on the web site that members can download, fill out and either email, fax or post back to us. We need as much information as possible, so please respond. Whether you were involved in BOMHC, or were unable to be part of the local DGP register, we would like you to fill out this questionnaire. You will find a questionnaire on the APS website at <link no longer available>.

For more information, email Rebecca Mathews, r.mathews@psychsociety.com.au, or David Stokes, d.stokes@psychsociety.com.au.