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The scope of the Mental health establishments national minimum data set (MHE NMDS) is all Specialised mental health services managed or funded by state or territory health authorities. The concept of a specialised mental health service is not dependent on the inclusion of the service within the state or territory mental health budget. Services funded by government from non-mental health specific budgets are considered in-scope for collection if they meet the definition of a Specialised mental health service. Services funded wholly by the Australian Government are considered out-of-scope for the MHE NMDS.

All services operated within the budget of a Specialised mental health service organisation are considered in-scope for the MHE NMDS. These services are also expected to report client level data, that is, reporting to the Community mental health care NMDS, Residential mental health care NMDS, Admitted patient care NMDS and the Mental Health National Outcomes and Casemix Collection. There are some services reporting to the MHE NMDS for which the collection of client level data is not warranted, however, these services are uncommon and any omission of client level data must be justified by jurisdictions.

Specialised mental health services are those with a primary function to provide treatment, rehabilitation or community support targeted towards people with a mental disorder or psychiatric disability. These activities are delivered from a service or facility that is readily identifiable as both ‘specialised’ and ‘serving a mental health care function’.

A service is not defined as a specialised mental health service solely because its clients include people affected by a mental illness or psychiatric disability.

The definition excludes specialist drug and alcohol services and services for people with intellectual disabilities, except where they are specifically established to assist people affected by a mental disorder who also have drug and alcohol related disorders or intellectual disability.
The services can be sub-units of hospitals that are not, themselves, specialised mental health establishments (e.g. designated psychiatric units and wards, outpatient clinics etc).

There is a hierarchy of statistical units used within the MHE NMDS. Information is provided at each level: State/Territory; Region; Organisation; Hospital/Service unit cluster; and Service unit (Admitted patient services, Residential services and Ambulatory services). Each level has a unique set of attributes which comprise the NMDS data elements and additional supplementary information.

The statistical units are specialised mental health services. These are the specialised mental health components of the state and territory health authorities, and of regions within states and territories; specialised mental health service organisations; service units within those organisations; hospitals or service unit clusters; service units; and specialised mental health services provided by private hospitals, and non-government residential service units in receipt of state or territory government funding.

Specialised mental health services provided by private hospitals and non-government residential mental health services that receive state or territory government funding are included as service units for this NMDS.

Ambulatory services managed by non-government organisations (NGOs) are not defined as statistical units for this NMDS.

Metadata items in this Data Set Specification

Below is a list of all the components within this Dataset Specification.
Each entry includes the item name, whether the item is optional, mandatory or conditional and the maximum times the item can occur in a dataset.
If the items must occur in a particular order in the dataset, the sequence number is included before the item name.



Glossary items

Glossary terms that are relevant to this national minimum data set are included here.

Administrative and clerical staff

Admitted patient mental health care service

Ambulatory care

Ambulatory mental health care service

Consultant psychiatrist

Diagnostic and health professional

Domestic and other staff

Enrolled nurse

Episode of residential care end

Episode of residential care start

Geographic indicator

Hospital-in-the-home care

Mental health carer

Mental health carer workers

Mental health consumer

Mental health consumer workers

Mental health-funded non-government organisation

Occupational therapist

Other diagnostic and health professional

Other medical officer

Other personal care staff


Psychiatry registrar or trainee


Registered nurse


Residential mental health care service

Salaried medical officer


Social Worker

Visiting medical officer


Related content

Relation Count
As a numerator in an Indicator 0
As a denominator in an Indicator 0
As a disaggregation in an Indicator 0