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11 October 2002 News Update


The Ministry of Health has released the Mental Health (Alcohol and Other Drugs) Workforce Development Framework, which provides snapshots of workforce development so far, as well as identifying its future direction.

"Mental health services have developed rapidly in the past 10 years to help meet the needs of some of the country's most vulnerable people, those with a mental illness,'' said deputy director-general of mental health, Dr Janice Wilson.

"Mental health workforce development is clearly a priority - progress towards more and better mental health services can only be made with workforce development. Effort is still needed to secure the workforce numbers and skill configuration required to meet the mental health needs of our community, and that's what we are working towards. This document gets us a step closer.''

Spending on mental health services grew from $480 million in 1997/98 to $596 million in 1999/2000. By 2003/04 expenditure on mental health is set to increase to $750 million.

"Through the further development of the mental health workforce, more and better mental health services will be available to meet the needs of New Zealanders,'' said Janice Wilson.

"Workforce development involves more than investment in training. The task now is to determine how to address recruitment and retention, research, management practice and organisational effectiveness and development.''

The framework clarifies the different organisations that are responsible for workforce development. It describes what work is going on now to ensure people in the mental health workforce have the right mix of skills to help people seeking mental health care.

The main employers of the mental health workforce are District Health Boards (DHBs) and non-government organisations.

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