Improving access to mental health care

Friday October 31, 2014

Canterbury Specialist Mental Health Services (SMHS) is streamlining its systems to ensure people get faster access to urgent or crisis mental health care.

The SMHS Adult Service has developed a new model of care aimed at providing improved access for consumers and their families and greater integration between existing services.

Dr Sue Nightingale says since the earthquakes the Canterbury DHB has been moving towards delivering care closer to people's homes and the service changes mean the Community Mental Health teams can provide a more mobile service.

"It's about ensuring our consumers don't experience multiple referrals and assessments but move seamlessly within the service, depending on their needs," Dr Nightingale says.

As part of this, the function of the Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES) will be delivered via the Community Mental Health Team located in the area closest to the consumer and accessed via the Single Point Of Entry Team.

"On the surface for consumers accessing our services, nothing has really changed – it's more or less business as usual – you still ring the same telephone number, which is 0800 920 092 in the first instance."

Calls are directed to someone who's able to help and provide advice on what to do, she says.

"The difference is that the health professionals delivering care will now come from within the community health teams that are based closest to the consumer, and who will provide continuous care whether it is an emergency, addressing longer term mental health needs or admission to hospital," Dr Nightingale says.

"Bringing PES and the community mental health teams together is about ensuring we're providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time, by the right person."


Page last reviewed: 31 October 2014