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Historic Forensic Mental Health Agreement

Media Release

Date: 11 March 2008


Historic Forensic Mental Health Agreement

Clinicians and mental health officials have today welcomed a new model of care for the delivery of forensic mental health services in the Midland region saying it offered huge opportunities for them.

A joint governance group met to sanction and formalise an agreement last month. The group oversees forensic mental care development in the region.

The group has representatives from Waikato District Health Board, Hauora Waikato -the largest kaupapa Maori mental health provider in the country - other Midland DHBs and Mason Clinic (Auckland) clinical director Dr Sandy Simpson as independent chairperson.

The group's task is to ensure Waikato DHB's provider arm Health Waikato and Hauora Waikato implement the 'one service two provider' model of service endorsed by both boards last year.

This model blends best practice forensic psychiatry with Te Ao Maori (the Maori world) for patients accessing the service. More than 80 per cent are Maori.

Service delivery will be from Health Waikato's Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre in Hamilton and Hauora Waikato's Tamahere Hospital and Healing Centre.

The first task is the appointment of an executive clinical director to work across both organisations. Recruitment has already begun.

Hauora Waikato chief executive Rei Wirihana said there was an "air of excitement and anticipation" among clinicians and mental health teams to the "innovative and creative" model of services.

"This will offer the whole Midland region some robust relationships to work on."

Lakes DHB chief executive Cathy Cooney, the Midland DHBs' representative on the group, said the work was pioneering and important in a Treaty of Waitangi perspective.

Health Waikato chief operating officer Jan Adams said the model of care was a significant development for the region.

"We worked hard to challenge conventional thinking that could have stalled the process," she said.

"This is groundbreaking work which comes after seven years' negotiations. We are all very excited about the challenges ahead."

The key areas of focus are:
* The delivery of the Midland regional forensic psychiatry service's implementation plan
* Monitoring contract performance
* The delivery of the model of care agreement
* The delivery of the facility redesign
* The identification and consideration of opportunities for the improvement of psychiatric services in the Midland region.

ends

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