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Hughes launches Health Practitioner handbook

Hon Darren Hughes
Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment

10 July 2008 Media Statement

Embargoed until 2:30pm

Hughes launches Health Practitioner handbook

Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Darren Hughes has today launched the Work and Income Health Practitioner handbook saying it is a tool to help move Sickness and Invalid’s beneficiaries back into work with the same kind of government focus that has seen unemployment benefit numbers fall by 89 per cent since taking office.

The handbook provides health practitioners with a reference guide to Work and Income and Ministry of Social Development’s processes.

“This handbook will be a valuable tool for health practitioners, as it answers many of their questions about the Ministry, its staff, processes, forms, benefits and entitlement. It provides an introduction to the main types of support and services available through Work and Income, particularly medical certification for health-related benefits, assistance and services,” Mr Hughes said.

Designated doctors are engaged by Work and Income to provide case managers with independent clinical advice. This determines a person’s medical eligibility for benefit.

The handbook is part of the government’s Working New Zealand programme which focuses on getting the right support and services in place to help people prepare for, make the transition to, and stay in work. It offers more services to a wider group of clients, while continuing to offer support for those who will not be able to move into work.

“We are committed to working with health practitioners to improve the quality of information used to determine benefit eligibility and the supply of support and services.The handbook is an important step in this partnership process.

“Work and Income will also provide information workshops for designated doctors which will provide an opportunity to further develop sustainable working relationships with one of our key partners,” he said.

“I am particularly pleased to be launching the handbook at the Horowhenua Health Centre, which provides an excellent example of the benefits of integrating community-based health services in one location. The two GP practices on site should gain great benefit from this handbook”.

“The handbook will also build upon initiatives such as PATHS (Providing Access to Health Solutions) which have the specific objectives of supporting people on Sickness and Invalid’s Benefits back into work through linking up different Ministry services”.

Copies of the handbook will be distributed to General Practitioners, Midwives, medical practices, public and private hospitals, Primary Health Organisations, and will also be available on the Work and Income website.


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