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Service to help people with ill health into work

Hon David Benson-Pope, MP
Minister for Social Development and Employment
Member of Parliament for Dunedin South

15 December 2005 Media Statement

Canterbury service launched to help people with ill health or disability into work

A new service responding to the needs of those with ill health or disability who want to work was launched today by the Minister for Social Development and Employment.

David Benson-Pope officially launched the Canterbury Providing Access To Health Solutions (PATHS) service. PATHS provides access to health interventions to support a person with ill health or a disability in their return to work.

“We realise that many people with ill health or a disability want to work, and can work with the right support,” said David Benson-Pope. "The new Canterbury service draws together medical services, mental health and drug and alcohol services, housing, education, and social support services as required. The result is a tailor-made package for each person."

In Canterbury, the “big four” PATHS partners are Work and Income, the District Health Board, the Mental Health Education Resource Centre, and Partnership Health, representing Primary Health Organisations. Canterbury is the fourth PATHS partnership launched.

PATHS is one part of a New Service for Sickness and Invalid’s Benefit clients being developed as a response to the growing number of people relying on a benefit because of ill health or a disability. This New Service is a mix of initiatives that include enhanced case management, career coaching, skills training, support for employers and PATHS.

"The government has committed an extra investment of $127million to the New Service over the next four years,” said David Benson-Pope. “Today’s launch is one more step in the government’s programme to make sure employers have the skilled workers they need, as well as opening up employment opportunities to more New Zealanders."

ENDS

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