DHB to assist in client transfer

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 11:27 11/12/2012

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Four Maori health organisations will take over the work of Te Rapuora from next year, the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board announced yesterday.

Chief executive John Peters said the health board would work with the four organisations, already in Marlborough, to make sure clients were transferred as smoothly as possible.

Te Kahui Hauora O Ngati Koata and Te Hauora O Te Awhina would be given assistance to develop kaupapa Maori mental health services, while Te Hauora O Ngati Rarua and Maata Waka Ki Te Tau Ihu Trust would provide Maori personal health services.

Te Rapuora o te Waiharakeke was the largest provider of Maori mental health services in the region but announced last month that it will close on December 31 because of financial problems.

It had 505 clients and 22 staff in Marlborough and 192 clients and nine staff in Nelson. Its clients included 128 mental health patients.

The health board plans to hold two public meetings in Blenheim on Wednesday next week to discuss the transfer of clients and services to the new service providers. They will be at 1pm and 6pm in the St John Hall, on Seymour Street.

Mr Peters said the health board would work with the four providers to transfer services before the Christmas break. This would include setting up communications with staff and clients, deciding when services will be moved, and what support will be required for clients leading up to Christmas and in the new year.

The shape of that would be completed during the next two weeks, he said.

Te Kahui Hauora O Ngati Koata kaiwhakahaere (director) James Reneti said the organisation was pleased with the decision made.

"We are prepared to put in the extra effort to support those clients who are registered and to ensure it's done from a kaupapa Maori point of view."

Te Hauora O Ngati Rarua general manager Molly Luke said it was important the groups put their focus on the clients and managed their needs leading up to Christmas.

"We have to ensure that the processes are clear and that our service puts Te Rapuora clients first."

Health board Maori health director Harold Wereta said every effort would be made to transfer Te Rapuora staff to a new employer, but this would be up to the service providers taking on this responsibility.

"At the moment, we are working with Te Rapuora to identify the needs of the clients and what level of support they will require before transitioning into alternative arrangements."

Mr Peters said the health board received submissions from eight Maori health providers and offers of support from non-governmental mental health providers based in Golden Bay, Nelson and Marlborough.

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"We were heartened by the level of support given to the health board."

The new arrangement meant the health board could strengthen clinical support to tangata whaiora and clients registered with Maori personal health services, to ensure they are delivered in a culturally appropriate manner.

It would also strengthen relationships with Maori health providers and the community.

- The Marlborough Express

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