Health equity, a key driver for Equally Well, continues to be a hot topic in the health sector.

At the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners GP18 Conference for General Practice there was a strong Equally Well presence. Equity featured in many keynote speakers' presentations and Minister of Health Hon David Clark spoke about the importance of equity being across everything the Ministry of Health does. Our Twitter account was working double time as waves of relevant and important information flowed from the sessions and workshops. Follow us on Twitter at @EquallyW to see the posts and a snippet of Dr Clark’s speech. We look forward to #GP19!

We know that people experiencing mental health and addiction issues are significantly more likely to experience co-morbidity with other health issues yet often face barriers to health care.

At last week’s NZMA GP CME South conference Dr Clark reiterated the importance of health equity and in particular highlighted the physical health inequities for people experiencing mental health and addiction issues. “Mental health is a significant contributing factor to overall wellbeing, especially in the prevention and management of other conditions. We know that people experiencing mental health and addiction issues are significantly more likely to experience co-morbidity with other health issues yet often face barriers to health care,” he said.

GP CME South had five Equally Well related presentations including an Equally Well keynote from Andrea Bates (Wellbeing Wellington) and Helen Lockett (Wise Group). Afterwards, the majority of the respondents in our live survey said one of the key things they would do differently from now on, is to have better heart health conversations, at an earlier age. That’s really great to hear, and shows what can be done in a 20-minute session!

The increasing recognition of mental health and physical health parity is as a direct result of all your awareness raising. Many collaborative partners identified Equally Well as an important issue in their individual submissions to the mental health inquiry. It is great to see inroads being made on progress in this area.