Closing the loop of support for all New Zealanders

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In 2015, an opportunity arose to provide input into the way mental health is delivered through primary care. One response to this was ‘Closing the Loop’, an initiative developed by Network 4, a collaboration of New Zealand’s four largest Primary Health Organisations: Pegasus Health, Compass Health, Midland Health Network and Procare Health.

According to Mark Liddle, Pegasus Health’s Chief Operating Officer, Closing the Loop was designed to be thought provoking and bring together a shared vision of a new way of delivering mental health and addictions support.

“Mental health has become a focus for much of the health and social sector and we are seeing an increasing willingness to collaborate and fill in the gaps in the current models,” Mark says.

“We’ve worked closely together and involved other key organisations in this journey. The NGO sector, through Platform Trust, have stated their commitment to Closing the Loop. Over the past year or so of developing this vision, we’ve refined our thinking but the direction hasn’t changed.”

At least one in six New Zealanders will be diagnosed with a mental health disorder at some point in their lives.

“Primary care can do so much more to help those with mental health and addictions issues return to wellness, limit complications and reduce the impact on individuals, families and communities,” Mark says. “Mental health is not standalone and General Practice is uniquely positioned to provide and coordinate care to support physical and mental wellness.”

Network 4 has set out five key themes that need to be addressed to realise the Closing the Loop vision:

  1. Having a system that is responsive to the varying needs of our populations.
  2. Having a model of support that enables meaningful outcomes from the first point of contact.
  3. Having the enablers that effectively support the model.
  4. Having well-resourced research, development and evaluation.
  5. Having the right system leadership.

Collectively, Network 4 is responsible for the primary care needs of almost two million New Zealanders, including 226,545 Maori, 140,503 Pacific Island people, 162,531 non-Maori/Pacific, and 172,568 New Zealanders living rurally.

The Closing the Loop document can be found at:

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