The Victorian Coalition Government has today announced major changes that will improve the way alcohol and drug treatment services are delivered across the state.
Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said the reforms will improve support for adults, with treatment services that are easier to access and more seamlessly integrated with other services that people need.
“These changes bring together several years of work by clients, families and carers, providers, the government and other stakeholders to address shortcomings in the alcohol and drug treatment service system.
“When we began this process we said it needed to be easier for people to get alcohol and drug treatment services they need, when they need them. We also said services needed to be tailored to people’s needs and preferences and that they must be of a consistently high quality,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Key among the changes announced today are: streamlined and centralised access for people; simplified service delivery underpinned by more flexible funding arrangements; and an area-based approach that means better integration with other health and human services.
“In addition, by collapsing 20 funding streams into 5 we are reducing red tape for providers of treatment services so they have the flexibility and time to support people needing treatment,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Over $41 million in funding will fund 27 consortia comprising 83 adult non-residential treatment and support services in 16 catchment areas across the state.
“This recommissioning process commenced in 2013 in response to calls for change from within the drug and alcohol sector. The Victorian Auditor General also reported in 2011 that under the previous Labor Government, the treatment system was fragmented and challenging for clients to navigate,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Ms Wooldridge thanked service providers who worked diligently through this process over the past months and have committed ongoing support in the future.
“Reforms such as this inevitably mean change for providers and staff as well as clients. That is why we have invested $2.3 million to support the transition. This will allow things such as free-call phone lines for clients, dedicated workers to actively support clients through transition as well as support for peak bodies to provide professional development training for staff and a jobs board,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“I congratulate the sector for their efforts throughout the process. Delivering alcohol and drug treatment services is a challenging task and your dedication to making a difference to the lives of people impacted by alcohol and drug use is greatly appreciated.
“As a result of these reforms, there will be a shift from a system that was fragmented and characterised by multiple and complex episodes of care, to a simplified system that operates cooperatively and is connected to other services Victorians need.”
These reforms are a key part of the Coalition’s whole-of-government Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria’s plan 2013-2017 and will improve how people with drinking and drug problems are assisted with their care, treatment and recovery.
Ms Wooldridge also noted that recommissioned services will further benefit from additional funding as part of the $34.1 million investment in alcohol and drug treatment services committed in the 2014-15 State Budget. These funds, when allocated, will add to the benefits of recommissioning, providing enhanced treatment services for clients.
Further information on the reform is available from: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/aod/sectorreform.htm
*Details of the new providers and catchments are provided in the attached table.