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Hanmer Clinics Moves to Outpatient-Only Treatment

Media Release
24 October 2003

Hanmer Clinics Moves to Outpatient-Only Treatment

National alcohol and drug treatment provider, Hanmer Clinics Ltd, will close its residential treatment programme in Hanmer Springs and expand its network of specialist outpatient clinics around New Zealand.

This means the organisation will be concentrating its resources in the community to help an increasing number of New Zealanders seeking treatment for dependence on alcohol or other drugs.

Hanmer Clinics are operating in Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland and outpatient services are being expanded with additional programmes in existing clinics and through partnerships offering new services in new areas.

The withdrawal from residential services has been accelerated by the reallocation of funding by the Ministry of Health from residential treatment into outpatient services only. This is in accordance with the Mental Health Commission's 'Mental Health Blueprint'.

Expansion of Intensive Outpatient Programmes Chairman, John Beattie, said the five Hanmer Clinics are treating more patients than ever before on an outpatient basis, using substantially the same clinical treatment that has been used at Hanmer Springs for the last 30 years.

"738 patients used our outpatient services in the first six months of 2003, an increase of 121% compared to patient numbers in the same period last year," Mr Beattie said. "And this figure does not include family members who take part in our family programme."

"We are expanding the number of programmes we run at our existing outpatient clinics and have recently started a women's programme and a dual diagnosis programme at our clinic in Christchurch. Additional intensive outpatient programmes have also recently started during the day at our clinics in Wellington and Hamilton."

"We are currently also in discussions with parties in the upper North Island about joint venture partnerships to provide additional outpatient services."

"Clinicians employed at the Hanmer Springs clinic have in some cases already been transferred to our outpatient clinics. We hope to be able to retain many of our skilled clinicians by offering them redeployment to our outpatient clinics where possible, following cessation of services at Hanmer Springs."

"We have appointed two of our senior personnel to new roles to manage the further development and roll-out of community-based services. Kim Alexander will have South Island wide responsibilities and David Benton will manage the North Island," says Mr Beattie.

Withdrawal from residential services Mr Beattie says the closure of the Hanmer Springs residential programme will be a loss to New Zealand, but the Ministry of Health's requirement for public funding to be applied only to outpatient services meant it was no longer possible to keep the residential programme operating.

"We have exhausted all avenues for alternative funding. At the end of the day, we are a charitable organisation and private funding is not consistent enough for us to be confident of continuing to operate residential services. There is no shortage of demand for publicly-funded residential beds," Mr Beattie said.

Background The Hanmer Clinics group currently has 78 staff. Intensive Outpatient Programmes are available at Hanmer Clinics in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch. The programmes are a key element in the overall success of the treatment and care offered by Hanmer Clinics.

The intensive outpatient model was brought to New Zealand by the Hanmer Clinics group in 1997. It is consistently the most cost-effective and treatment-effective model in use today for patients dependent on alcohol and other drugs.

The Intensive Outpatient Programme is an eight-week programme for men and women aged 18 years and over who are professionally assessed as being dependent on alcohol or other drugs. The Programme is generally available either during the day or in the evening to suit patients' work, study, family and other commitments.

Core elements of the Programme are education, individual and group counselling, family group, and two years aftercare on a weekly basis for all patients that complete the initial eight-week treatment programme.

Patient outcomes are measured at three, six, twelve, eighteen and 24 months following completion of the Programme.


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