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Mental health workforce growing

21 May 2002 Media Statement

Mental health workforce growing

Health Minister Annette King says considerable progress is being made on building the capacity of New Zealand’s mental health workforce, with hundreds of new jobs created in recent years.

Ms King today launched the third Progress Report on the Blueprint for Mental Health Services in New Zealand. The report, for the period 2000-01, measures the number of people using services as well as those providing the service.

During the year, an additional 455 full-time community clinical positions had been created, 236 additional full-time community non-clinical positions, and 148 additional positions in community clinical services for children, she said.

Ms King said a thriving workforce was a key to improving mental health services, so it was a pleasure to see workforce numbers growing after years of decline.

“The development of the mental health workforce is a very important part of the overall response to bridging gaps in mental health services and ensuring quality mental health services are available to all New Zealanders,” she said.

“Improving mental health services and the mental health of New Zealanders also involves building services at a rate the sector can sustain, services that are within reach of those who need them, and services that focus on recovery for the person with a serious mental illness.

“Bringing the Blueprint to fruition has been a long and arduous process. Although we’ve come a long way, it’s important we keep working to bridge gaps in mental health services and work to promote a recovery focus within services.”

Ms King said it was essential the different parts of the system worked together to avoid duplication and delay, and to maximise collaboration and cooperation.

“Hospital-based and community-based services must collaborate with each other, as well as with non-governmental providers and primary health care services. There also needs to be appropriate referrals, assessments and comprehensive strategies with other sectors, to ensure the full range of peoples’ needs are met.”

It was also about looking after the mental health workforce as well as mental health consumers, she said. The workforce needed to be supported to deliver the services New Zealanders desired.

Other improvements noted in the report include improved consumer participation in services and an increase in consumer-run services; Increases in family advisory and family-run services; and a 58 percent increase in funding for Mäori services.


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