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Website will orientate overseas trained doctors

24 October 2008

New website will orientate overseas trained doctors to New Zealand’s mental health system

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has launched an online orientation programme to support overseas trained doctors working in New Zealand’s mental health system.

International medical graduates from any medical discipline who have recently arrived in New Zealand can register for the programme at, which goes live today.

Funded by Te Pou, The National Centre of Mental Health Research, Information and Workforce Development, the orientation programme and website was developed and delivered by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Programme content is delivered in self-paced modules with a minimum of 30 minutes learning material in each module. Topics include: components of the New Zealand mental health system, Maori mental health care, multi-cultural mental health care, service user and community expectations, professional rights and responsibilities and psychiatric treatment options in New Zealand.

“The website’s content is focused on mental health and intends to provide doctors with the knowledge and tools required to develop a strong understanding of the core values and generally accepted practices in psychiatry in New Zealand,” said Dr Lyndy Matthews, Chair of the RANZCP New Zealand National Committee.

The website can be accessed 24-hours, seven days a week and the modules offer a range of learning styles, including:

- case studies illustrating important information in a practical way
- reflective questions to guide further thinking about material
- video clips featuring psychiatrists, doctors and community representatives talking about their experience of working in New Zealand’s mental health sector.

“This programme aims to support overseas trained doctors in becoming successfully oriented to the New Zealand work environment and its mental health systems. The website is targeted at psychiatrists and doctors working in mental health, but is also a great resource for general practitioners, particularly those working in rural areas, mental health nurses and allied health professionals,” said Dr Matthews.

An expert reference group provided high level guidance around the programme content and all training modules and material have been thoroughly tested and evaluated.

The website was officially launched at The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ New Zealand conference in Nelson this week.

For further information:
Dr Lyndy Matthews, Chair, RANZCP New Zealand National Committee 027 584 7882

About The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is the principal organisation representing the medical specialty of psychiatry in Australia and New Zealand and has responsibility for training, examining and awarding the qualification of Fellowship of the College to medical practitioners.

There are currently more than 2750 Fellows of the College who account for approximately 85 per cent of all practising psychiatrists in Australia and over 50 per cent of psychiatrists in New Zealand. Close to 1000 trainees are undertaking basic and advanced training to become psychiatrists in both countries. Further information can be found at the College’s website:

About Te Pou, The National Centre of Mental Health Research, Information and Workforce Development
Te Pou was established in 2006 to provide a mental health hub for New Zealand where, in one place, research, information and workforce development initiatives could be brought together to add value to the mental health and addiction sector now and assist in the creation of better services to meet future needs.

Funded by the Ministry of Health, Te Pou works with district health boards and non-government organisations, assisting in strategies and initiatives that develop the skills of people who work in mental health services, and attract more people to work in this sector. Te Pou also assists services to use mental health research and information to improve service delivery and access for people who use these services.

The Research aspect of the programme is charged with driving the translation of mental health research so that it can be applied and used in service delivery. The Information team champions and promotes the use and analysis of, and training in, mental health clinical information to enhance recovery. The Workforce team, including Le Va - Pasifika workforce development within Te Pou, leads the drive to grow the skills and number of people who work in this sector.

Further information about Te Pou and its work can be found on its website:


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