Official Opening of Christchurch Central Services
Health Minister Hon Dr. David Clark was treated to a rousing haka by the residents of Christchurch's Odyssey House as he arrived at the official opening of the recently expanded premises of Tūhauora - Christchurch's Central Service.
The new Ferry Road base moved over from Washington Way in 2017 to transition to a public contact centre. The primary objective was to centralise its location, coordinate resources and better facilitate consumer access to a range of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment services.
Dr Clark said it was a humbling experience to be present at the opening of such a successful service and that mental health and addiction was one of his main priorities as the country's Minister of Health.
"This service demonstrates the strong collaboration and commitment from the sector to ensure that we are delivering better services," he said. "Today's event is an acknowledgement of the way in which people can work together to ensure people can gain access to mental health and addiction service treatments when and where they need them."
Christchurch Central Service is a "one-stop-shop" that fields enquiries from people in the community seeking support and advice in relation to drug and alcohol issues.
The service has access to all relevent AOD services in Christhchurch, and although led by Odyssey House Trust Christchurch, remains a collaboration between Care NZ, The Salvation Army, The Christchurch City Mission, He Waka Tapu, and the Christchurch District Health Board.
HOW IT WORKS:
When a member of the public telephones the free helpline, their first contact is with a trained advisor who screens, assesses, triages and links the caller to the appropriate AOD treatment service provider.
This centralised approach has created an improved, integrated and co-ordinated system for AOD treatment. It has resulted in decreased duplication of information, more efficient use of resources, improved public access to services, a consistent AOD service treatment approach, and a more rapid response to consumer needs.
Dr Clark recognised Odyssey House Trust and its role in providing AOD services to people from all over the country over the past 33 years. Clark said that its "wrap-around service" demonstrated how innovative and forward-thinking the sector was becoming."In fact, it's one of those cases where those providing care are actually leading the policy makers," he said. Dr Clark acknowledged this collaboration as leading the way around the country, and was truly heartened by the passion and commitment shown by so many people.
"This service epitomises, for me, what can be achieved when NGOs, District Health Boards and community workers succeed in doing something through a shared vision, to improve continuity of care for service users and provide a streamlined process that enables access to care," he said. "I'm excited about the benefits that Canterbury has already seen from this Central Service and I look forward to the continued development."
The Minister said that his current focus was on building a stronger public health service and delivering the kind of service that New Zealanders expect and deserve. "People are telling me around the country that they have a willingness to do things differently and I think that presents some real opportunities," he said. "There is already an energy out there to effect a transformation in our services."
The collaboration of NGOs, Community and specialist services has exceeded expectations and experienced a 25 percent increase in referrals in the eighteen-months since inception.
Also speaking at the official opening, Odyssey House Trust Clinical Director Nigel Loughton said the collaborative approach towards AOD services and the opening of a larger premises had led to innovation, growth and greater developments in their treatment programmes.
"The work that can be accomplished now by knowing and developing relationships is endless, in terms of the potential. Instead of what can't we do, it's what can we do and how we do it."
Christchurch Central Service is based at 55-59 Ferry Road and is open 8.30am-7.30pm Monday-Friday and Saturday 10-2pm. The Service accepts self-referrals, referrals from GPs and other community agencies via post, fax, and email. For more information, Telephone: (03) 338 4437, Fax: (03) 338 7427,
Further coverage of the opening of the Christchurch Central Service can be viewed here (Stuff.co.nz).