Mental Health Resource Distribution Formula

NSW Department of Health, 2009

In April 2009, the NSW Department of Health engaged Health Policy Analysis to identify the most appropriate model of incorporating mental health in the general RDF (Resource Distribution Formula) consistent with RDF principles, and to develop this model.

Health Policy Analysis approached the task through a nine stage process. The project began with consultations focused on the major factors that need to be considered in developing the mental health RDF. The consultations were followed by a literature review focused on identifying relevant evidence concerning the relationship between prevalence of mental health issues and factors that vary across geographical regions.

The key findings from the literature were presented, helping to guide work on the further investigations that were necessary for the development of the NSW mental health RDF. A general structure was then developed for the mental health RDF to allow for further investigation of the factors that influence the weighting of its individual components.

To investigate the weighting, extensive data analysis and modelling was performed to determine which factors were correlated with mental health resource need. This work required the use of multiple datasets and examined factors such as state wide services, demographic factors, population indicators of need, private hospital services, cross area flows and more. Based on these analyses, recommendations were made as to which factors should be included in the mental health RDF. The factors that were included were then used to calculate weightings by component type for each Area Health Service as the final recommendation for the mental health RDF.