At the beginning of 2018 the Government established the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. In response to a request for formal submissions, the College has prepared a detailed response.
The College’s position
The College’s response highlights concerns – particularly around the lack of action on social determinants of health, the lack of funding for mental health and addictions services, and the lack of integration between primary and secondary care.
We also make several recommendations around the development of new primary care-led models. We wish to see:
- A reduction in the treatment cost for those with a mental health condition or addiction
- Clear referral pathways between primary and secondary care
- A greater focus on developing the cultural competence of the workforce
- Greater effort to gather robust data on service use and outcomes
- A sustained effort to address the negative impacts of the social determinants of health.
Our submission goes into further detail about what is working well, such as the promise of the stepped-care model. We discuss what’s not working well, such as GPs and consumers reporting difficulty accessing secondary care. We share our views on what could be done better or differently, for example, a sustainable funding stream for primary care to address this. Finally, we address what a refreshed system would look like – one which takes a holistic approach. We have focused deliberately on primary care and general practice.
We have prepared this submission based on feedback from our members on this inquiry as well as previous reviews and strategies related to mental health and addictions, such as the perinatal and maternal mortality review committee mortality review, suicide prevention strategy.
About the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry
This inquiry was set up by the Government and has three main purposes:
- To hear the voices of the community, those with lived experience of mental health and addiction challenges and those who work with them
- To report on how New Zealand is preventing and responding to mental health and addiction challenges
- To recommend specific changes to improve New Zealand’s approach, with a particular focus on equity
The full terms of reference for the inquiry is available on the Inquiry’s website.
We are exploring the potential of meeting with the Inquiry panel in the coming months as part of their series of meetings with interested parties.
The Inquiry is due to report to the Government by 31 October 2018.