Mental Health PHN Circular 3 - September 2016

Page last updated: 23 September 2016

Primary Mental Health Care Minimum Data Set
Circular September 2016

This circular provides advice on the commencement and implementation arrangements for the Primary Mental Health Care (PMHC) Minimum Data Set (MDS).


The PMHC MDS is designed to capture mental health data from providers commissioned to provide mental health services by PHNs. The Department will use the data to better inform mental health policy by monitoring services delivered by the PHNs, as measured by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The PMHC MDS has replaced the former data collection and reporting arrangements for Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) and Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas (MHSRRA) MDS to collect and report on the broader range of services included in the new mental health flexible funding pool and to provide support for the commissioning model of PHNs by:
  • defining the common data to be collected in relation to all mental health services commissioned by PHNs;
  • setting standards for how the various data items are defined; and
  • specifying the requirements for national reporting.

Data item specifications and the PMHC MDS website

Version 1 of the PMHC MDS data item specifications are now available to be viewed at the PMHC MDS website.

The website has tools and resources to support PHNs and their commissioned provider organisations. These include:
  • PMHC MDS overview information paper
  • Outcome measures tools
  • Suggested standard words for obtaining client consent
Should commissioned provider organisations request further information or assistance, they may contact the Strategic Data PMHC MDS helpdesk which is also available on the PMHC MDS website.

Requirements for PHNs

The PMHC MDS sets the requirements for data collection and reporting of mental health services through PHNs. PHNs therefore need to ensure these requirements are met by all providers commissioned to deliver services via the mental health flexible funding pool.
Decisions about how the data are collected and reported across the region will be at the discretion of each PHN.


The PMHC MDS is progressing in stages, commencing with development of data specifications and followed by progressive upgrading of the existing web-based data submission and reporting arrangements. The process entails a set of short-term, interim arrangements for reporting of data covering new services that will run alongside the existing ATAPS/MHSRRA system.

The timetable for rollout of the new arrangement is outlined below.

21 September 2016Release of Version 1 of the PMHC MDS data item specifications, developed following feedback from the PHN MDS Reference Group.

These were released for use by PHNs in developing local systems and setting reporting requirements of commissioned providers.
From 1 November 2016STAGE 1 of new data submission arrangements
Interim web-based data submission process released for reporting by PHNs on all aspects of client service delivery including those not currently captured in the ATAPS/MHSRRA system.

The interim process incorporates all new data items and excludes those ‘retired’ from the former ATAPS/MHSRRA minimum data set.
Stage 1 requires PHNs and their service providers to either:
  • export data from their client systems and upload to the MDS; or
  • manually create spreadsheets that can then be uploaded.
It also includes a user management interface to allow PHNs to manage their service providers and a core set of reports relating to departmental reporting. However, the interim data submission process has significantly less functionality than the ATAPS system, including web-based data entry and editing.

The ATAPS/MHSSRA system will be maintained and run alongside these interim arrangements for PHNs that are reliant on this system for data capture or choose to maintain parallel systems. However, new data items being introduced to the PMHC MDS are not included.

The ATAPS/MHSRRA system will be maintained until a new integrated data entry interface is available in stage two.
By final quarter 2016-17Begin adoption of Stage 2 integrated PMHC data collection and submission arrangements.
From 1 July 2017STAGE 2 – integrated data submission arrangement
This stage will bring together all reporting into a single data submission process. It will include a re-designed data entry user interface that allows online editing of the data in the MDS, a master patient index to allow service providers to manage client identifiers across PHNs and other reporting functionality.

Full compliance with integrated reporting.