Clinical Services

Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS)

Background 

From 1 July 2016, all 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs), including SEMPHN, will begin the move to a new commissioning model. This model is focused on the procurement of health services across the region, rather than the direct delivery of services. As such, PHNs, rather than the Commonwealth Government, will become fund-holders and purchasers of a range of health service across the catchment. 
 
In line with the Government’s response to the National Mental Health Commission’s review of programs and services, primary mental health throughout Australia will be reformed during the next two years. This reform is designed to ensure a greater emphasis is placed on meeting the needs of the local community, addressing service gaps and achieving better local health outcomes. 

About ATAPS 

ATAPS is a limited funding pool that is allocated annually to PHNs. Therefore, it is specifically available for people who are financially disadvantaged and cannot access the Medicare funded sister program – Better Access.

What is ATAPS?

ATAPS provides short-term, focused psychological strategies with an allied mental health practitioner (Psychologist, Mental Health Social Worker, Mental Health Occupational Therapist, Mental Health Nurse, or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Worker) who is registered with SEMPHN to provide ATAPS treatment.

What does ATAPS offer?

•    Eligible clients generally receive 6 sessions.
•    The GP may request a further referral for another 6 sessions if deemed clinically necessary. Clients may receive a maximum of 12 sessions per calendar year.
•    In exceptional circumstances, a GP can make a third referral in one calendar year if a significant new mental health problem is diagnosed, or a new and significant life event impacts on the patient's mental wellbeing.

When would ATAPS be relevant for people with mental ill-health?

ATAPS focuses on commonly diagnosed mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety. ATAPS is also an appropriate referral pathway for other target groups as defined in the table below:

Standard Tier 1

GP conducts a mental health assessment utilising the GP mental health treatment plan.

Can be referred by a GP practicing in the SEMPHN catchment or paediatrician or psychiatrist. Provisional referrals can be made by allied health professionals provided that the referrer works with the GP to develop a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

Tier 2

GP conducts a mental health assessment utilising the GP mental health treatment plan.

Can be referred by a GP practicing in the SEMPHN catchment or paediatrician or psychiatrist. Provisional referrals can be made by allied health professionals provided that the referrer works with the GP to develop a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

Includes those affected by severe life events.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Can be referred from GP, Aboriginal Controlled Health Service, Alcohol and Other Drug Service, or Acute Mental Health Team.

Counselling is available by providers who have undergone accredited cultural training.

No limit on number of sessions.

Children

Children exhibiting behavioural and mental health issues may be referred by a GP, paediatrician or psychiatrist. The referrer must complete a Child Treatment plan.

Children assessed as being at risk of developing a mental disorder where this causes ‘significant dysfunction in everyday life’ may be provisionally referred by a school or maternal and child health nurse may make a provisional referral. However a Mental Health Treatment Plan should be prepared in consultation with a GP.

Perinatal depression

Women (and their partners) with perinatal depression may be referred by a GP or obstetrician, or can be provisionally referred by a maternal and child health nurse. The referrer must work with a GP to prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

People at risk of suicide or self harm

People considered low risk of suicide and experiencing suicidal ideation (as determined by a suicide risk assessment) and have no suicide intent or plan, can be referred to the Suicide Prevention Service of ATAPS. 

A provisional referral can be made, with the referrer working with the GP to prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse People

Counselling is available in more than 13 languages.


Referring to ATAPS from 1 July 2016

Referral intake line: ph: 1300 292 971
Enquiries: ph: 1300 421 604
Enquiries email: MHadmin@semphn.org.au
Fax referrals are no longer accepted

ATAPS Forms and Information from 1 July 2016

Provisional Referrals
ATAPS Provisional Referral Form
Provisional Referral Information Sheet for Clients

To simplify the process for General Practitioners to refer to ANY mental health service, there are new combined GP mental health treatment plan and referral forms that can be imported into clinical practice software.

These are available in the GP Package section on the Commissioning - ATAPS section of this site.

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