Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui (Te Pou) is pleased to support the launch of the Safe Practice Effective Communication (SPEC) training programme at the national forum held in Christchurch on 21 and 22 November.

SPEC is a collaboration between all district health boards, under the leadership of the National Directors of Mental Health Nursing (DOMHN), key stakeholders including service user groups and Māori, and Te Pou.  The new initiative aims to provide national consistency and best quality evidence based therapeutic interventions for effective communication to reduce restraint and seclusion. It is a quality improvement mechanism.

SPEC is a training programme for mental health clinicians who work in inpatient units. It is delivered by ‘a train the trainer' model. The DHBs are working in regional alliances to support the development and implementation of the programme. The DOMHN and Te Pou have been working together since late 2012 to develop this training.

There are a number of outcomes sought from SPEC National Training. These are:

  • national standardised training programme
  • national coordination of a 'train the trainer' programme and improved professional development for trainers
  • national governance of the programme including Māori and service user representation
  • increased focus on therapeutic interventions that reduce the incidence of restraint and seclusion
  • elimination of flexion based (painful) holds
  • elimination of prone positioning (lying face down) which has asphyxiation risk
  • elimination of injuries to staff and service users
  • improved national oversight of restraint through consistent national reporting.

Currently seclusion is reported to the Director of Mental Health, but not restraint. This is a mechanism for clinical practice improvement.

Te Pou will be working with services to implement the training in practice, and will be part of the national governance of the programme.