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Mental Health project team being established

MEDIA RELEASE

18 December 2003


Mental Health project team being established to develop business case to turn plans to reality

At last month’s Board meeting, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board members passed a number of resolutions which will see The Pathway Forward, the plan for changing the way mental health and addiction services are funded and provided in Hawke’s Bay become a reality.

One of the first tangible change will be the establishment of an Accountable Health Team, which will function as a one-stop assessment and triage centre, to manage all referrals for any mental health or addiction care – whether it’s a mental health crisis, or longer-term recovery support. People’s needs will be assessed and personalised ‘packages of care’ will be tailored to meet the needs of individuals – rather than individuals having to fit within the confines of existing services.

“We want to move from a one-size-fits-all system, to tailor-made personally fitted care arrangements that fit in with the person, their family/whanau and lifestyle.

“Systems and processes will be developed by the Accountable Health Team which will, over time, work across all providers within the HBDHB. We want to ensure all providers are providing quality services which are consumer-friendly and meet the cultural needs of tangata whaiora and all people seeking wellness,” said Chris Clarke, chief executive officer.

“We also want to ensure services are outcome-focused, which means making sure the right services are provided to support a person to recovery and independence. We want to see tangible results, and that means a measurable improvement in the mental health of those using the services.

Resolutions passed at the Board’s November meeting include:

1. That the Terms of Reference for the Mental Health & Addictions Advisory Committee (MHAAC) and the Mental Health Local Advisory Committee (LAG) are reviewed so that overlaps of function and task are addressed.

2. That Healthcare Services (HCS) appoint a permanent Clinical Director for Mental Health. The appointee must understand and support the Path Forward for Mental Health and Addiction Care in Hawke’s Bay. *This has now occurred with the permanent appointment of Dr Anne Walsh to the position of Clinical Director for Mental Health & Addiction services.

3. That the Board supports the structure for the Accountable Health Team (AHT) as a DHB Service separate of HCS reporting directly to the CEO.

4. That the Board supports options 2 & 3 for the implementation of the Accountable Health Team - that is a locally driven, Hawke’s Bay solution that may include partnerships with other organisations.

5. That the Board supports the development of a communication plan that informs key stakeholders, and all parties that have been consulted throughout the process to date, of the outcome from the November Board paper and clearly indicates the next steps that will be taken.

6. That as soon as possible the CEO gains the support of the Ministry of Health and the Mental Health Commission for the implementation of the Path Forward. It is hoped that this support will include additional funding to assist with the implementation process.

7. That a Project Team be formed by the CEO, to prepare a detailed Business Plan for the AHT, covering the period from today until the end of the 2005/2006 financial year (including financials). This plan is to be approved by the Board prior to any staff appointments to the AHT. This Business Plan is to be submitted to the Board no later than its March meeting.

Chris Clarke said the new project team would be getting together early in the new year to establish an intensive work plan to ensure that milestones are met and implementation could occur as soon as possible.

“We are leading the way in Hawke’s Bay, with this new direction for mental health services, and when you are the first, there are a few hurdles to overcome…but we are committed to seeing this project to fruition, as we believe the result will make a tremendous difference for people experiencing a mental illness,” Chris Clarke said.

“It is intended that implementation will commence next year, but will be a phased approach, to ensure everyone involved has time to come on board with the planned changes,” he said.

END

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