The ongoing need for community mental health support is showing no sign of easing and is causing significant demand and strain on the Taranaki Primary Connections – Brief Intervention Service.
In the past significant additional funding has been made available in an attempt to keep up with demand. Unfortunately, we have been unable to secure this extra funding in an ongoing sustainable way.
As a result, changes are required to the way the service is delivered. This will involve a return to operating the service in accordance with the Taranaki DHB primary mental health contract with particular regards to criteria for access and numbers of sessions available to each client per referral. The contract is targeted for Māori, Pacific, rangitahi and those on low incomes, such as those who would be eligible for a community services card. The service is brief intervention, 4-6 sessions of counselling or psychology.
Other funding options remain available, as per our alternative counselling and support services resource page.
Extended consult claims are also exceeding budget. These offer best value when used to deliver education on non-medical management strategies for managing mental health concerns or using a brief intervention approach such as FACT.
The disability allowance can also be used to support funding of GPs appointments where cost is a barrier.
There are a number of new services being implemented in Taranaki currently, funded centrally from the Ministry of Health. These include specific programmes for rangitahi, and integrated primary mental health services available in some general practice clinics. This is increasing the options available to whānau in Taranaki.
For practices with access to Te Manawanui services – Your practice HIP or kaitautoko are a great resource for patients and should be accessed before referral made to TPC, and in place of an GP extended consult.
We thank you for all your hard work for the communities of Taranaki during 2021 during what has been a particularly challenging year. Your commitment and dedication is appreciated and highly valued. We hope you find time to connect with whānau and friends over the holiday period and enjoy a break from work.
Maree McCracken, Clinical Director, Primary Mental Health
027 485 7847
Sam and Katy Smith, Joint GP Liaison - Taranaki