Happy new year everyone. Te Pou offices are now open for 2021. 

Happy new year everyone. Te Pou offices are now open for 2021. 

Working in an integrated approach

Skills for integration in community/primary health settings project update

On behalf of the Ministry of Health, Te Pou is leading the planning, development and delivery of training and resources for the workforce to support the roll-out of integrated mental health and addiction services accessed through community/primary health settings. This work responds to the recommendations of He Ara Oranga (2019) to increase people’s access to, and choice of, primary mental health and addiction services.

In September 2020 we developed and distributed Skills for integration in primary and community health settings (DRAFT), along with an e-survey seeking further feedback. The draft document provided an overview of integration and proposed an integration skills framework including Let’s get real as a foundational platform for the three priority skills for integration. Thank you to all those who took the time to provide their feedback.

Survey feedback and subsequent discussion with stakeholders has highlighted that the integration models being implemented in primary and community health services are diverse and evolving. Priorities are different for each stakeholder group and vary depending on the level of organisational exposure to ‘integrated approaches’ and the extent to which ‘inter-professional integrated care’ has been supported in different parts of the country.  Models of integration differ in their emphasis, for example, a primary focus on wellbeing for people with mental health and addiction needs (including people experiencing mild to moderate needs) compared with a behavioural health model with a broader wellbeing, population health focus. Overall, this evident diversity impacts on the frame of reference through which the workforce understands and fulfils key roles and responsibilities. This in turn poses challenges in defining skill requirements and supporting skill development. 

In consideration of the feedback, we have moved to adopt a more agile approach which enables ongoing responsivity to changing needs and circumstances. As such, we are working to present Skills for integration guidance in an online format that we can continue to evolve and adapt as we work with stakeholders to develop our shared understanding of workforce needs within an integrated approach.

This approach will enable us to present guidance and resources to support workforce development in the identified priority areas, based on what we understand now. It means we can use the material we have developed so far, and adapt as we learn more from stakeholders about what is needed. We are currently compiling additional training and resource material that will be accessible via our website, which we are intending to launch in February 2021.