The Equally Well Taking our pulse survey 2019 was a positive affirmation of the amount of Equally Well work going on throughout the length and breadth of Aotearoa New Zealand.
With 174 people responding, this snapshot of activities over the last 12-months shows that the Equally Well collaborative can be encouraged and inspired by the many actions undertaken to achieve physical health equity. Many initiatives have been embedded into usual practice. It is clear there is a strong network of individuals that are actively making things happen.
The survey also highlighted that amongst the great work of the Equally Well movement there is still more to be done. We need to keep the momentum going!
The survey identified that Equally Well initiatives mainly focus on:
- identifying and providing support to help manage physical health issues, for example through routine physical health checks, and metabolic monitoring, developing screening tools and resources, and providing physical health information tailored to people and whānau
- supporting people to improve their physical health by reducing risk factors, for example smoking cessation, helping with diet and exercise, supporting or funding dentist visits, and helping people access safe affordable home and stable employment
- increasing people’s access to primary care services, including funding GP appointments and offering extended consultations.
- working together with others to achieve physical health equity, for example collaborative/working groups or shared care particularly between specialist and primary care teams
- enhancing workforce capability and capacity, for example running specific education and training sessions on Equally Well for health practitioners and students, developing tools for the health workforce, and recruiting dedicated new roles to work within mental health and addiction services, for example dietitians.
A quarter of the people who responded said their organisation had a current Equally Well action plan, another 39% were unaware if their organisation had an action plan. Additionally, some people were currently developing a plan, or were planning to soon.
Some challenges that emerged for implementing Equally Well initiatives included a lack of resources such as time, people or money, or workplace support. Some examples reinforced the need for good change management and leadership support of Equally Well initiatives in their organisations to encourage individual champions and to get more health practitioners on board.
Implications for all of us
Everyone in the Equally Well collaborative should be encouraged to keep taking action, sharing actions, and collaborate with people and organisations who are working on similar initiatives. The Equally Well backbone team reviewed the results of the Taking our pulse survey and took a number of actions points from it. Whilst we recognise that Equally Well champions will use these survey findings in different ways to continue to create change, below are some recommendations for action arising from this survey.
Sustainability and Eqaully Well action plans:
- If you are unaware of your organisation’s Equally Well action plan, find out more. If your organisation does not have one, encourage your workplace to develop one. For those who already have a plan, consider whether it is widely known, how to better promote it to increase awareness, and whether it needs a refresh. Also contact Rachel Kapeli to promote your organisation’s plan on the new ‘action plan’ section of the Equally Well website.
- Consider how your organisation can use the range of Equally Well resources to create change and take action.
- Consider the sustainability of Equally Well in your organisation. If you left tomorrow, who would take over? Is there support from organisational leadership and commitment to resourcing initiatives?
Spread the word and connect with others:
- Share the findings of the survey with your colleagues, workplace and managers, as well as the wider collaborative. In particular, how your Equally Well initiatives and those of others are having an impact on people and services, or issues and learnings about how to support effective implementation.
- Contact us. The backbone team are always pleased to hear from you, and to assist where they can to profile your work in the Equally Well e-news or connect you with others. If you didn’t fill out the survey, get in touch if you have initiatives or stories that you’d like to share - it’s not too late as this is an ongoing process.
In conclusion, the survey showed us that everyone, regardless of role or sector have a role in achieving physical health equity. For many individuals and organisations, the physical health of people experiencing addiction and mental health issues now appears to have a high priority.