Tōku Oranga (Access and Choice)

Tōku Oranga (Access and Choice),  is a primary mental health and addiction service based in general practices in the Southern region. Part of a national initiative, Tōku Oranga places qualified mental health practitioners in general practices, making it faster and easier to access care. They provide free and timely support for patients and clients wanting help to improve self-management and provide guidance with behaviour change - including addressing stress, addictions, social issues, or long-term physical health struggles. 

Tōku Oranga is delivered by a collaborative partnership across existing health and wellbeing providers in the region. Below are the providers that support the delivery of this program.


What is Tōku Oranga?

Tōku Oranga means 'My Wellbeing' and is also known as Access and Choice. The team consists of Health Improvement Practitioners, Health Coaches and Community Support Workers (more information on each of these has been provided below).

How much does it cost to see a team member?

It is free for people enrolled in participating practices. 

How many appointments can I have and how long will they last?

Most people get the help they need in a single visit. You may return to learn new skills. The appointment is usually 30 minutes.

What do Tōku Oranga team members do?

They work with you to help manage your health, by talking over issues, working through blocks and developing goals. You leave an appointment with a plan to make change.


Health Improvement Practitioners (HIPS) 

Health Improvement Practitioners are qualified and registered health professionals with experience in mental health. They offer 15 to 30 minute appointments to assist clients to take positive steps forward in improving their well-being. Health Improvement Practitioners  - HIPs for short - provide a little bit of help to a lot of people by supporting patients to take the next step to improve their well-being across the whole range of physical and mental health presentations. They can support clients of any age.

HIPs help you to develop skills to make positive behavioural changes for your wellbeing. This includes managing stress, thoughts, feelings and behaviours, helping with sleep, alcohol and drug problems. They provide support to all ages including children, youth and their whānau who may have worries or have behavioural concerns.


How do you access the Health Improvement Practitioner (HIP)?

HIPs sit within designated GP practices. A GP or practice nurse may suggest a client meet the HIP in addition to their consult or a patient can contact the practice to arrange a time. The HIP will always attempt to accommodate an appointment on the same day. Seeing a HIP is FREE.

Each appointment with the HIP is designed to be a single, one-off consult. At the end of this session clients leave with a plan for them to start to improve their well-being or a referral to another service if necessary. A follow-up appointment may be arranged if required. This can include:

  • Helps you develop skills to make positive behavioural changes for your wellbeing;

  • Managing stress, thoughts, feelings and behaviours, helping with sleep, alcohol and drug problems;

  • Supports children, youth and their guardian who may have worries or have behavioural concerns;

HIPs do not offer therapy, case management or need to discharge clients. They do not offer crisis services.

Clients can still access other services or therapies, in addition to seeing a HIP.


Health Coaches

Health Coaches are based in general practices and work alongside Health Improvement Practitioners and the general practice teams. Like HIPs, they accept same-day, ‘warm handovers’ from GP staff of clients and patients needing their help. They come from a range of health and well-being backgrounds, supporting people to take positive steps forward for improving their health. This includes:

  • Empowers you to take control of your health and wellbeing;

  • Helping you develop realistic goals;  

  • Encouraging good management of various health issues that you want addressed;

  • Discuss how to be more active by doing things you enjoy; 


Community Support Workers

Community Support Workers, employed by community agencies, support people with anything that is non-clinical, but having a large impact on people's well-being and ability to make progress. The key word is “support” as CSW walk alongside people, supporting them to achieve their goals. This can include:

  • Providing support to you and your whānau in your own community;

  • Supporting your independence;

  • Connecting you to services in the community;

  • Working with you towards your health and wellbeing goals.


General Practices hosting Health Improvement Practitioners, Health Coaches and Community Support Workers:

Queenstown, Wanaka and Central Otago:

Alexandra Family Medical
Aspiring Medical

Cromwell Medical Centre
Health Central
Junction Health
Te Kaika Queenstown (Mountain Lakes)

The Doctors Whakatipu
The Village Medical 
Queenstown Medical Centre
Wanaka Medical

Invercargill and Bluff:

Bester McKay Family Doctors
Bluff Medical
He Puna Waiora Wellness
Invercargill Medical Centre
Murihiku Medical Services
Number 10 Youth Services
Queens Park Medical Centre 
South City Medical Centre
Te Hau o Te Ora, Invercargill

Vercoe Brown & Associates
Waihōpai Health Services


Rural Southland:

Fiordland Medical Practice

Gore Health Centre

Gore Medical Centre

Otautau Medical Centre

Te Hau o Te Ora, Mataura

Winton Medical Services



Albany Street Medical Centre 

Aurora Health Centre
Broadway Medical Centre
Dunedin City GPs 
Dunedin Health Centre
Dunedin South Medical Centre 
Saddleview Health Centre
Helensburgh Medical Centre
Māori Hill Clinic 
Meridian Medical Centre
Mornington Health Centre
Musselburgh Medical Centre
Mosgiel Health Centre

Servants Health Centre
Te Kāika Dunedin


North Otago: 

East Otago Health Centre

Kurow Medical Centre

South Hill Medical Centre, Oamaru

Te Kāika Oamaru


Rural Otago:

West Otago health

Tuapeka Community Health

Catlins Medical Centre

Clutha Health First

Milton Medical Centre


Media coverage

HIPS set to work in clinics - Otago Daily Times

New GP teams to help more people in Southland - Southland Times/Stuff

Profile - Rachael Bentley, Health Improvement Practitioner South Hill Medical Centre, Oamaru and East Otago Health Centre

Mental health support now available through GPs  - Oamaru Mail

'Marked increase' in anxiety during lockdown - Otago Daily Times