Investment in programmes and services key features for WellSouth for 2020/21: Annual Report
Greater access to well-being support in primary care, balancing Covid-19 testing along with delivery of the vaccine, improving long-term conditions support, and a continued commitment to equity are among the many highlights for WellSouth in the fiscal year 2020/21.
WellSouth’s board of trustees adopted the Annual Report 2021 and financial statements at the Annual General Meeting today in Dunedin.
The Access and Choice programme, where free and immediate mental health and well-being support is made more available through general practices, is a particular success. The programme grew from six to more than 20 practices in the year to June and provided more than 16,000 appointments to patients and clients across the district. Practices with more Māori, Pasifika, high needs, and youth populations are prioritised for this service.
“Our team is recognised nationally for implementing this programme so well in Southern. But it could never be the success it is without general practices embracing and promoting the new service,” says Andrew Swanson-Dobbs, WellSouth CEO.
Covid-19 vaccinations and testing were another substantial area of work for WellSouth this year.
“General practice in Southern, and our own teams, provided Covid-19 testing and delivered the Covid-19 vaccine, all while continuing with routine, acute, and planned care for patients. It’s been a masterclass in getting on and getting the mahi done.”
Other significant highlights of note the year, include:
- Major improvements to and expansion of long-term conditions programme CLIC. (Annual Report, pages 18-19)
- New and enhanced roles for Clinical Pharmacy, making best use of resources and broadening access to the service for practices and patients. (Annual Report, page 26)
- Creation of a Covid-19 project team, supporting practices to introduce the new vaccination programme, ensuring equitable access to the vaccine and continued availability of swabbing, including for ships crews and port staff. (Annual Report , pages 14-17)
- Harti Hauora programme’s kaimahi supporting tamariki at Southland Hospital and encouraging whānau engagement with health services and care. (Annual Report, page 29)
- Improving enrolment through our Outreach and Call Centre services and deeper focus on ensuring equity for Māori and Pasifika (Annual Report, pages 20, 34-35, 27-29)
- Actioning the Southern Suicide Prevention Plan – including Suicide Prevention 101 Workshops for health care staff, strengthening suicide postvention groups, and other community-based outreach initiatives. (Annual Report, page 31-32)
- Continued growth of Health Care Home programme, with 10 new practices – and some 55,000 enrolled patients – joining the HCH programme. (Annual Report, page 40- 41)
As was expected, WellSouth has a budgeted deficit this year of $967,184, versus a surplus in 2020.
WellSouth chairman Dr Doug Hill said WellSouth put a heavy focus on improving services and increasing service delivery this year, as both a catch-up from the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns and as a further investment in the future of primary and community health services for Southern.
“It was important that we spend money where it’s needed and this includes supporting practices to deliver long-term conditions support to patients through the CLIC programme and investing in other important services, including clinical pharmacy, outreach, and mental health and well-being services,” Dr Hill says. “These investments mean WellSouth is in a better position to support practices and patients, continuing to be agile and able to act quickly to deliver support and care where and when our help is needed.”
Across all programmes, equity for Māori and Pasifika is the first priority, Dr Hill says: “This is our path and how we mean to proceed. We believe our efforts will have an impact on health services and health outcomes longer term which benefits everyone.
“None of this happens without very dedicated staff and I want to thank the general practices across the region and the WellSouth team for all they have done this year. You have, once again, raised the bar.”