The Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office (MHDAO) is responsible for developing, managing and coordinating NSW Ministry of Health policy, strategy and program funding relating to mental health and the prevention and management of alcohol and drug related harm. The office also supports the maintenance of the mental health legislative framework.

The work of MHDAO is delivered mainly through the mental health program and the drug & alcohol program, in partnership with Local Health Districts, Justice and Forensic Mental Health, Sydney Children's Hospital Network, Non Government Organisations, research institutions and other partner departments.

The Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office (MHDAO) was formed in 2006 by the integration of the Centre for Mental Health, the Centre for Drug and Alcohol, the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy, and Community Drug Strategies. The establishment of the Office is a response to the increased policy and funding priority given to these areas by the State Government and nationally under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

Chief Psychiatrist

The role of the Chief Psychiatrist at the Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office (MHDAO) is to provide:

  • High level advice to the Director of Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Programs on the mental health needs of the NSW population;
  • Professional leadership to NSW mental health clinicians across all areas; and
  • Clinical input to policy development and implementation to improve the mental health status of target groups

Drug and Alcohol Chief Addiction Specialist

The role of the Drug and Alcohol Chief Addiction Medicine Specialist at MHDAO is to provide:

  • Advice on drug and alcohol clinical matters to the Director of Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Programs and MHDAO staff;
  • Information on new developments in drug and alcohol clinical treatment and care;
  • Leadership on the development and monitoring of a clinical governance framework for NSW drug and alcohol services; and
  • Support to NSW clinical staff at times where local clinical leadership is not available.

Clinical Governance

Clinical Governance is the term used to describe a systematic approach to maintaining and improving the quality of patient care within a health system. It is about the ability to produce effective change so that high quality care is achieved. It requires clinicians and administrators to take joint responsibility for making sure this occurs.

When Clinical Governance is effective, it has the potential to:

  • Make positive changes you want to see happen;
  • Improve the quality of care for patients; and
  • Provide a better experience for staff.


Page Updated: Wednesday 27 January 2016