Regional evolution of psychosocial services in Australia before and after the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Luis Salvador-Carulla, Mary Anne Courtenay Furst, James A. Gillespie , Sebastian P. Rosenberg, Amir Aryani, Lauren Anthes, Shahana Ferdousi, Jose A. Salinas-Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This paper compares the evolution of the psychosocial sector in two Australian regions pre and post introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme - a major reform to the financing, planning and provision of disability services in Australia, intended to create greater competition and efficiency in the market, and more choice for service users.

Methods: We used a standardised service classification instrument based on a health ecosystems approach to assess service availability and diversity of psychosocial services provided by non-government organisations in two Primary Health Network regions.

Results: We identified very different evolutionary pathways in the two regions. Service availability increased in Western Sydney but decreased in the Australian Capital Territory. The diversity of services available did not increase in either Primary Health Network 4 years after the reform. Many services were experiencing ongoing funding uncertainty.

Conclusion: Assumptions of increased efficiency through organisational scaling up, and a greater diversity in range of service availability were not borne out.

Implications: This study shows the urgent need for evaluation of the effects of the NDIS on the provision of psychosocial care in Australia. Four years after the implementation of the NDIS at vast expense key objectives not been met for consumers or for the system as a whole, and an environment of uncertainty has been created for providers. It demonstrates the importance of standardised service mapping to monitor the effects of major reforms on mental health care as well as the need for a focus at the local level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2022

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