Monday, 7 September 2020

Real solutions for addiction services

“The ACT Party has a real solution for providing addiction and mental health services,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Drug and alcohol abuse can destroy families and lives, and yet treatment is difficult to access and the choice of treatments don’t work for everyone.

“We need a new approach to addiction and mental health in this country, it’s clear the status quo just isn’t working.

“Each year, the Government spends about $2 billion on mental health and addiction services. The current system is a disorderly mix of funding arrangements with providers struggling to deliver a coordinated response.

“It shouldn’t matter where in New Zealand you live, there should be a choice to suit the needs of individuals and communities. Instead people are faced with a system that is difficult to navigate and full of bureaucracy.

“The Government has established a Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, but it does not have real power to improve choice or establish a clear, nationwide approach to tackling mental health and addiction.

“ACT would give the Commission the power to transform mental health and addiction services by taking the $2 billion per year currently spent through the Ministry of Health and DHBs, and channelling it to providers and patients through an upgraded Commission.

“The Commission would be renamed Mental Health and Addiction New Zealand (MHANZ).

“MHANZ would not be a provider of services, but a world-class commissioning agency that assesses individual needs and contracts the best providers for a person’s therapy and care. It would put people at the heart of the system.

“MHANZ would develop expertise in evaluating where the money is going and what services work based on evidence and data. It would issue clear and certain contracts to service providers while evaluating the outcomes and quality of care.

“Any provider that meets strict criteria would be able to register with MHANZ to provide treatment and care. Funding for services would be determined by and attached to the care of individuals and their needs. MHANZ would carefully monitor providers to ensure New Zealanders are receiving high quality care.

“Patients would be able to choose any registered provider for their immediate care, providing greater autonomy, or would be referred to a specific provider in cases where a person lacks the capacity to do so or requires specialised treatment.

“We can and must do better to help people change their futures. ACT’s vision is for mental health and addiction services will empower New Zealanders.”

ACT's policy can be found here