Purpose The distribution of specialist health services is usually uneven
by location due to limited resources, which is a problem for people with
complex needs. In this context, the research addressed the question: How
can a hub and spoke model offer appropriate (available, accessible,
acceptable and quality) services for people with intellectual disability
and mental health needs? Methods The research applied the question to
point-in-time qualitative interview data about services for people with
intellectual disability and mental health needs in the Australian state
of New South Wales (NSW). The interview data were from a larger
mixed-methods evaluation of a time-limited intervention (2018-2020).
Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 25 program consumers, families
and service providers for semi-structured qualitative interviews, and 14
other stakeholders for focus groups and interviews. Topics included
their experience of the process and outcomes of the intervention. Data
were analyzed against a hub-and-spoke model analytical framework.
Results The research found that the appropriateness of health services
benefited from funded, local positions. These local professionals
liaised between local mental health, health and disability providers.
They also liaised with other local areas and with centralized,
specialist intellectual disability mental health services. Conclusions
The implication is that specific local positions can work as a bridge
between generic and specialist services to improve the availability,
access, acceptability and quality of services for people with specific
support needs. This program worked well in a geographically large area
with a scattered population and decentralized health system.