An analysis of policy levers used to implement mental health reform in Australia 1992-2012

Grace, Francesca C., Meurk, Carla S., Head, Brian W., Hall, Wayne D., Carstensen, Georgia, Harris, Meredith G. and Whiteford, Harvey A. (2015) An analysis of policy levers used to implement mental health reform in Australia 1992-2012. BMC Health Services Research, 15 479: 1-11. doi:10.1186/s12913-015-1142-3

Author Grace, Francesca C.
Meurk, Carla S.
Head, Brian W.
Hall, Wayne D.
Carstensen, Georgia
Harris, Meredith G.
Whiteford, Harvey A.
Title An analysis of policy levers used to implement mental health reform in Australia 1992-2012
Journal name BMC Health Services Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1472-6963
Publication date 2015-10-24
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/s12913-015-1142-3
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 15
Issue 479
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Over the past two decades, mental health reform in Australia has received unprecedented government attention. This study explored how five policy levers (organisation, regulation, community education, finance and payment) were used by the Australian Federal Government to implement mental health reforms.

Australian Government publications, including the four mental health plans (published in 1992, 1998, 2003 and 2008) were analysed according to policy levers used to drive reform across five priority areas: [1] human rights and community attitudes; [2] responding to community need; [3] service structures; [4] service quality and effectiveness; and [5] resources and service access.

Policy levers were applied in varying ways; with two or three levers often concurrently used to implement a single initiative or strategy. For example, changes to service structures were achieved using various combinations of all five levers. Attempts to improve service quality and effectiveness were instead made through a single lever-regulation. The use of some levers changed over time, including a move away from prescriptive, legislative use of regulation, towards a greater focus on monitoring service standards and consumer outcomes.

Patterns in the application of policy levers across the National Mental Health Strategy, as identified in this analysis, represent a novel way of conceptualising the history of mental health reform in Australia. An improved understanding of the strategic targeting and appropriate utilisation of policy levers may assist in the delivery and evaluation of evidence-based mental health reform in the future.
Keyword Federal Government of Australia
Evidence-based reform
Mental health
Policy levers
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2016 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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