ConclusionThe review of ATAPS will allow for a more focused program that it continues to be a complementary service model for fee-for-service delivery of psychological services for the management of common disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Meaningful changes to ATAPS require that the program becomes:
- more targeted
- innovative: there is a need for ATAPS to become more innovative to better service the needs of those most vulnerable in our community
- more flexible: there is a need to consider whether in some instances alternative providers may be better suited to deliver ATAPS services to meet the service and population gaps
- complementary: Specifically Better Access and other Australian Government Mental health programs
- more efficient
- fresh in its approach to ensure enhanced access to those in need who are currently not accessing primary care services.
- Any further comments on current ATAPS model/future of ATAPS?
Next stepsThe Department will undertake an assessment of other Australian Government mental health programs to identify how ATAPS can further complement these programs. The Department will also investigate the option of undertaking planning exercises with state/territory governments and relevant non government organisations to identify the service gaps and high need populations in each region. Demographic data will also be used to identify particular service gap areas. This information will inform the development of options for recommendations.
The next steps in the review process involve the following:
- On receipt of comments from the discussion paper and from the analysis of Better Access uptake data, options and recommendations will be developed.
- Transitional funding arrangements will be implemented with funded Divisions of General Practice to extend the current ATAPS program to 30 December 2009.
- It is anticipated that there will be an announcement of the future of ATAPS in early 2009.
- The new version of ATAPS to be rolled out in early 2010.