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Sector leaders and Minister of Health come together at Addiction Leadership Day

On a wet and windy March morning in Te Whanganui-ā-Tara Wellington, over 120 people came together for the first Addiction Leadership Day of 2023. Addiction Leadership Days are held three times a year and hosted by the National Committee for Addiction Treatment (NCAT), with support from Te Pou. They are an opportunity for sector leaders to come together and share latest updates and connect.

Attendees from across a broad range of services and organisations came together, including Ara Poutama Department of Corrections, kaupapa Māori providers, NGOs, Te Whatu Ora services and commissioning, among many others.

After the mihi whakatau from mana whenua Te Āti Awa, and a welcome from NCAT Co-Chair Deb Fraser (Mirror Services), the Minister of Health, Honourable Dr Ayesha Verrall, provided an opening address. During this, she acknowledged the importance of the work being undertaken by those in the room, and her commitment to deepening her own knowledge.

"The vision of the reformed health system is a cohesive, unified system, that delivers pae ora for all New Zealanders, no matter who they are or where they live. Together we must continue to confront and find practical and realistic solutions to longstanding problems. – Minister of Health, Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall opening address.
NCAT Co-Chair Deb Fraser and Minister of Health, Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall

NCAT Co-Chair Deb Fraser and Minister of Health, Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall.

The day continued with presentations and discussion from Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora on their upcoming focus areas for the sector, including the announcement from Lucinda Cassin, Clinical Director – Oranga Hinengaro, of seven lived experience FTE roles within Te Aka Whai Ora across mental health and addiction. Meanwhile, Peter Carter, Interim Director – Addictions, Te Whatu Ora, spoke about a framework for addictions and the Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm.

An update was also provided by Sue Hallwright, Director Innovation and Change Implementation Support, Mental Health and Addiction with Te Whatu Ora, around the Access and Choice programme within primary care.

Other sessions during the day included enhancing cultural competence for cultural and linguistic diversity for the addiction sector, an addiction workplan update from Te Pou, an update on Te Whatu Ora special projects for addiction, an update from the Addiction Consumer Leadership Group, and a leadership workshop facilitated by Whāraurau.

Addiction Leadership Day was filled with robust discussion, with attendees reflecting some of the key pressing issues facing the sector. These issues are used to shape future Addiction Leadership Day agendas.

In acknowledging the theme for Addiction Leadership Day, E tū kaha tahi tātou: Standing Strong Together, NCAT Co-Chair and MC for the day Deb Fraser said,

“As an addiction sector we have come so far to not go further. We continue to work towards the aspirations of those who have gone before us and to make a difference for those who follow us. We know we have to be agile and embrace and make changes as the world changes. He tangata, he tangata he tangata. Let's not lose sight of those we are here for - tāngata whaiora. E tū kaha tahi tātou.”

The next Addiction Leadership Day will be held in Auckland on Wednesday 19 July. Registrations will open soon but to be kept updated about future Addiction Leadership Days, click here to be added to the email list.

Lucinda Cassin, Clinical Director – Oranga Hinengaro, Te Aka Whai Ora

Lucinda Cassin, Clinical Director – Oranga Hinengaro, Te Aka Whai Ora.

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