Authors: Otago District Health Board
Event: 2002 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NZ
Award level: Bronze
Award category: Shared Care Program
Abstract: The Otago District Health Board Mental Health Service seconded a Consultant Psychiatrist (half time) and a Registered Psychiatric Nurse (full time) to develop effective linkages between the mental health service, GP’s, Government and Non Government Organisations. The project staff undertook a survey to examine the views of Otago GPs about local mental health services and assisted a Health care evaluation project to identify the range of physical illnesses experienced by people with serious mental illness. It became evident that mental health clients faced financial difficulty in accessing primary health care. Effective liaison with the Department of Work and Income saw the development of Service Level Agreements, which facilitated clients accessing financial assistance to attend their GP. The initial project ran for 12 months and proved extremely successful with the development of shared care plans with GPs and improved health for clients. The project has now been extended to rural areas of Otago. Description of Facility/Organisation: The Otago District Health Board Mental Health Services provides comprehensive psychiatric care for a population of almost 200,000 people spread over a very large area of the South Island. We have made significant gains over the past 3 years with respect to service quality and workforce development. Funding is received from the Otago District Health Board and the Clinical Training Agency (workforce planning division of the Ministry of Health). The annual budget (including all overheads) is $33 million. Staffing levels are 450 FTE and the service sees on average 2500 clients per month in the community. We serve a local population of 181,542 (at 2001 census). Regional services are provided for inpatient forensic services and inpatient intellectual disability services covering Southland; combined population of 282,000.