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Primary/Mental Health Care Partnership Thrives

Primary Health Care and Mental Health Partnership Flourishing

Discussions between the Wakatipu Primary Health Organisation (PHO) and SDHB Mental Health Services over the last two years are starting to reap rewards, say PHO Chair Tony Hill and SDHB's General Manager Mental Health Services Chris Nolan .

“Relationships and trust have been built between our two organisations and this is now starting to bear fruit with a number of exciting new projects and initiatives”, Mr Nolan said. “We have found the PHO to be an excellent partner in developing mental health initiatives and we now have a close and effective relationship with them."

Wakatipu PHO Chair Tony Hill agrees. “Regular meetings and forums between the PHO and SDHB have opened up the communication channels and allowed our two organisations to develop a greater understanding of the work each is doing.

"This has also allowed us to develop a shared vision of what primary mental health care services should look like in the Wakatipu which had fed into our respective funding and planning processes," Mr Hill said.

The most recent initiative is the creation of a new Primary Mental Health Nursing position to work alongside Wakatipu GPs in their practices.

“This position is funded by the SDHB Mental Health Service and has a role in supporting GPs with the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of clients who would benefit from more specialist, intensive support but provided in partnerhip with GPs within the primary care setting," Mr Nolan explained.

"For the client early intervention often means improved health outcomes and a reduced likelihood that they may need specialist secondary care services."

Mr Nolan said that the primary care mental health nurse position was piloted earlier this year and has since been supported by practices within the Hokonui, Takitimu and Invercargill PHOs.

"We are delighted to be working with Wakatipu PHO to introduce this service to the community and look forward to supporting our primary care colleagues in providing mental health services for those experiencing mental health issues," Mr Nolan said.

"This is a great new service to support the Wakatipu community and we are looking forward to developing further service initiatives together with SDHB's mental health services," Mr Hill said.

More information about Mental Health services around the region can be found at www.futuredirections.org.nz


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