MHCC responses to consultations on the National Safety and Quality Mental Health Standards for community managed organisations

Mental Health Coordinating Council welcomed the opportunity to respond to consultations on the development of National Safety and Quality Mental Health Standards for community managed organisations.

The standards are being developed by the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care in consultation with community managed organisations (CMOs) peak bodies, consumers, carers, healthcare providers, professional bodies, Primary Health Networks and other representatives of the sector.

The objective of the new set of standards is to promote best practice and improve the quality of care delivered to consumers, carers and their support networks by CMOs.

Key points from mhcc’s Submission 
  • Regarding the applicability of ‘Governance’, ‘Partnering with Consumers’ and ‘Model of Care’ standards to the quality and safety of CMO mental health services. MHCC stressed that these standards should be described in terms of Practice Governance and Operational Management to reflect the best practice approach adopted in CMO service delivery contexts. Services provided, whether psychosocial support or clinical are underpinned by trauma-informed recovery-oriented principles and a practice approach which must be clearly articulated in terms of both organisational culture, and service delivery.
  • We also proposed that the criteria to improve safety and quality of care must ensure that safety is understood from both consumer, carer and service provider perspectives, promoting aspirations and dignity of risk and maximising consumer participation in care and treatment planning.
  • The need for trauma-informed recovery-oriented language, principles and characteristics to be reflected in the actions central to all governance and operational aspects.
  • A critical feature of the standards is that leadership must do more than “partner” with consumers and carers. The standards must ensure that co-design processes are embedded across all aspects of governance, and the practice framework must incorporate lived-experience expertise in governance of the service.
  • The criteria of workforce qualifications and skills that address responsibilities for safety and quality must reflect on how the safety and wellbeing of the workforce is dealt with by the organisation.

It is expected that these proposed draft standards will be released for further consultation in the second half of 2021. MHCC stressed the importance of providing sufficient time for further consultation with the sector.

It is important to note that the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care cannot mandate or authorise accreditation.

Nevertheless, it may be that some of our members’ funders will require alignment to the standards as a required KPI and they could become a necessary part of accreditation processes that are undertaken by most CMOs.

MHCC is keen to see the standards as a quality imperative something the sector would adopt voluntarily.

MHCC conducted a consultation with member organisations to commented on the questions posed in ACSQHS’s consultation paper in its submission.

To read MHCC’s submission click here

Community Mental Health Australia, the coalition of the eight state and territory mental health CMO peak bodies, has also provided a submission. It includes the CMO sector’s understanding of the current opportunity to develop a fit for purpose new safety and quality standard designed specifically for the CMO sector.

It includes a checklist of recommended high-level principles to guide the development of the new standards.

To read Community Mental Health Australia’s submission click here