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Applause for Mental Health Workforce Plan

Media Release
25 October 2000


Applause for Mental Health Workforce Plan

The Government’s moves to re-build the mental health workforce have received an A+ from the country’s major provider of community based mental health services.

Richmond Fellowship, which supports about 2000 people each year, says the Government’s commitment to workforce development, announced today, shows the type of vision that was lacking under the previous administration.

“Providers like us at the coal face of the mental health system have been absolutely clear about the scale of the skills shortage in this country, and to see a Government finally deal with the situation is simply wonderful,” says Fellowship chief executive Gerry Walmisley. “The announcement of $17million in workforce development funding responds to many of our concerns about the practicality of the current model and demonstrates the type of leadership that will provide the right environment for the development of services which are innovative and effective.”

“We certainly applaud the Government’s progress in this area and look forward to recruiting additional staff with the skills that are so desperately needed. It’s great to see the Government listening to the providers who are at the forefront of service delivery.”

The Government announced in this year’s budget that it would spend $257.4 million more on mental health over the next four years, and the extra funding for workforce development is considered a vital step towards the establishment of new services.

The Richmond Fellowship is currently recruiting staff from overseas or from other parts of the mental health sector and is having increasing difficulty attracting people with the right qualities. It recently developed a new diploma qualification for mental health workers in association with the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.

The Fellowship has been a strong critic of the Government’s district health board model but says it is delighted to give credit where credit is due. “Along with the Government’s Budget funding announcement this is probably the best news for mental health services in several years.”

Ends

Further information: Dr Gerry Walmisley
Chief Executive Officer
Richmond Fellowship New Zealand
Phone 03 366 5156

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