The entry process to the MHS meets the needs of its community and facilitates timeliness of entry and ongoing assessment.

The intent of this standard is to ensure that entry processes to the mental health service (service provider) are made known to the community it serves and that entry processes are efficient.

Documented entry policy and process (criterion 10.3.1)
Provision of information on the entry process (criterion 10.3.2)
Prioritisation of referrals (criterion 10.3.3)
Defined pathway for entry into the service provider (criterion 10.3.4) (partially applicable to the sector)
Minimise delay and duplication (criterion 10.3.5)
Involuntary admission (criteria 10.3.6, 10.3.7)
Care management on entry (criterion 10.3.8)

Documented entry policy and process (criterion 10.3.1)

Entry criteria should not directly or indirectly favour or discriminate against consumers from any groups that are a subset of the target population.

Service providers should have a documented entry policy and initial assessment process that includes:
  • referral requirements
  • eligibility, initial assessment and, as applicable to the service type, funding for the service provided and priority of access considerations
  • ensuring the following are addressed in the entry process: the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) persons, religious and spiritual beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, physical and intellectual disability, age and socio-economic status
  • documenting advice about choices and supported referral to other services if the service provider cannot provide appropriate services documenting analysis of 'non-accepted' referrals for satisfaction with outcome.
Evidence that this criterion is met could include:
  • service provider service eligibility, assessment and priority of access policies and procedures
  • feedback from consumers and carers who have made approaches about entry to the service
  • analysing census data and the service's demographic profile.

Provision of information on the entry process (criterion 10.3.2)

Service providers should have a procedure for disseminating information on the entry process to consumers, carers, and other service providers.

Evidence that this criterion is met could include:
  • information brochures that include service provider service eligibility, assessment and priority of access policies and procedures
  • feedback from consumers and carers who have made approaches about entry to the service
  • providing information to referring agencies. Top of page

Prioritisation of referrals (criterion 10.3.3)

The need to prioritise referrals will depend on the service type, service demand and funding. Some services might be able to accommodate all consumers who meet the service eligibility criterion and for whom the service is appropriate. Where prioritising access to the service is necessary, service providers should ensure that the criteria do not directly or indirectly favour or discriminate against consumers from any groups that are a subset of the service's target population.

Where consumers are assessed as having low priority, they should be given information about other appropriate services they might be able to access more quickly.

Evidence that this criterion is met could include:
  • brochures that include information on how eligible consumers are prioritised for access to the service
  • analysing referrals which are given low priority for satisfaction with outcome, and documenting the findings
  • advice to the consumer and, as appropriate, to carers, on choices and supported referral to other services if the service provider cannot provide appropriate services.

Defined pathway for entry into the service provider (criterion 10.3.4) (partially applicable to the sector)

Service providers should have one entry point for the system of referral, entry and assessment for each service it delivers.

Evidence that this criterion is met could include:
  • brochures with information about entry points including any toll free numbers
  • information about the entry pathway provided to referring agencies. Top of page

Minimise delay and duplication (criterion 10.3.5)

An individualised consumer health record (if appropriate to the type of services being delivered) and individual recovery plan should be developed when a consumer enters the service. This should include the means of entry to the service.

To reduce duplication, and with the consumer's informed consent, contact should be made with health and other service providers involved in earlier stages or episodes of care to obtain applicable information as soon as practicable after the consumer enters the service.

If the consumer withholds consent an appropriate clinical and organisational assessment should be made to determine the risks to the consumer, staff and other consumers of providing the service without the necessary background information.

Evidence that this criterion is met could include:
  • the consumer's health record (if applicable to the type of service provided)
  • the consumer's individual recovery plan
  • documenting contact with and information provided by health and other service providers during the initial assessment period.

Involuntary admission (criteria 10.3.6, 10.3.7)

These criteria are not applicable to the non-government community mental health service sector.

Care management on entry (criterion 10.3.8)

According to the service type, size of the organisation, and staffing arrangements in the service, service providers should appoint a care coordinator to coordinate services and liaise with others who are also providing services to the consumer. Consumer and carers should be advised who this person is and of any subsequent changes.

Evidence that this criterion is met could include:
  • providing information to the consumer and carers on entry
  • information on consumer files about referrals, treatment and service provision history
  • documenting service links and coordination and communication with others who are providing or have provided services to the consumer
  • individual recovery plans.