Health Professionals invited to provide consultation on Initial Assessment and Referral Tool

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The Department of Health is adapting the Initial Assessment and Referral tool for older adults aged 65+ and is inviting health professionals to provide consultation.

The Primary Health Network (PHN) regional mental health planning and commissioning of services is founded upon a stepped care approach.

In a stepped care approach, a person presenting to the health system is matched to the least intensive level of care that most suits their current treatment need. To achieve this an initial assessment is required.

To assist referrers with recommending a level of care for a person seeking mental health support, the Department of Health has implemented the initial assessment and referral (IAR) tool. The IAR tool assists referrers with recommending care based on the least intensive and least intrusive evidence-based intervention, that will lead to the most significant gain for the person seeking mental health support.

The IAR tool has been developed to support a nationally consistent evidence-informed initial assessment and referral processes which will be further refined as new evidence emerges.

The generic Guidance on the initial assessment and referral of individuals presenting with mental health conditions in primary health care settings, and the IAR Decision Support Tool, have been available for some time and are widely used.

Over the coming 12 months, health professionals will see more information about the IAR tool. Health professionals will also be offered the opportunity to undertake training and other support to implement the IAR tool in their daily practice. 

if you would like more information about the IAR tool please email

Currently, the Department of Health is adapting the Guidance and Decision Support Tool for older adults aged 65+. The Department of Health has released the draft documents for the purposes of consultation. 

The findings from the consultation will inform the finalisation of the older adults Lift Out and Decision Support Tool, which is scheduled for finalisation and trial in early 2022-23.

The consultation period for Health Professionals is from 20 May - 3 June 2022. You can view the relevant information here. To view the older adults Lift Out and Decision Support Tool scroll to the link at the bottom of the page under 'Related'.

If you have any questions about how to complete the survey, please email and