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Primary health organisations (PHOs) and general practice teams are the first point of contact for many people experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues. In 2019 the Government committed to increase the range of mental health and addiction supports that are available in primary care.
Over the last two years there have been some pilots of an integrated approach which includes several new roles with enhanced skills in mental health and addiction. An independent evaluation of some of these pilots was funded by Fit For the Future through the Ministry of Health, and the report is available. The Government’s investment in 2019 has led to further development of this approach across different areas in New Zealand. This includes a range of roles who work as part of a broader team with both general practice staff and other roles employed by DHBs and NGO providers.
The integrated mental health and addiction approach for general practice and primary care services includes the addition of specific roles that include:
To support the further development of these services Te Pou has a role to provide the workforce development for the new roles. This includes:
By increasing knowledge of all staff working in general practice and having closer working relationships with specialist mental health and addiction services, those accessing primary care services will have greater choice as to who they see with a wider range of services available.