Social services trial - not effective, no cash

Whanganui MP Chester Borrows and Health Minister Tony Ryall in Hawera on Friday.
Whanganui MP Chester Borrows and Health Minister Tony Ryall in Hawera on Friday.

Hawera could be included in a social services trial rewarding organisations performing and stripping funding from those that aren't.

Health minister Tony Ryall was visiting South Taranaki yesterday to inspect Hawera Hospital and the private Southcare facility with Whanganui MP Chester Borrows.

While meeting at Taiohi Oranga support service, staff told him of the high number of teenagers they had seen who had considered or attempted suicide.

In response, Mr Ryall said Hawera would be a good candidate for the Social Sector Trials currently underway in six New Zealand towns.

The trials have either a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) or an employed individual put in place to lead a youth-based programme using cross-agency resources.

In Kawerau, for example, there were 10 agencies which dealt with youth problems but no co-ordination between them. Likewise in Te Kuiti, since the trial began 52 young people were "uncovered" who were not on any agency rolls and needed help.

Mr Ryall said the NGO or employed person is given total authority to manage relevant government contracts, funding and networking to make sure services are being delivered properly.

"We've got these people who can come back to Wellington and say, ‘group X is not effective, take their money off them'.

‘The message is there's so much more that could be brought together - not just mental health but central health."

Mayor Ross Dunlop said he welcomed Hawera being investigated for the trial.

"Anything that might help truancy, youth offending, drug and alcohol use - it's got to be worth considering."

Mr Ryall also heaped praise on Southcare for being at the top-end in New Zealand for both private and public healthcare in creating an integrated system.

They have an in-house pharmacy, automatic doctor bookings following emergency department visits and a "Patient Portal" allowing online consults and quicker access to test results.

Taranaki Daily News