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Manaaki team calling Māori and Pasifika patients to support attending hospital appointments

Thursday 18 August 2022

WellSouth Primary Health Network and Te Whatu Ora Southern (Māori Health Directorate and Surgical Services & Radiology) are teaming up to help ensure Māori and Pacific Island patients and whānau get the support they need to attend outpatient hospital appointments across the district.

Seven days prior to a scheduled specialist appointment, the WellSouth Manaaki call centre team are ringing Māori and Pacific Island patients as a reminder of their appointment and to ask what support is needed to attend. The Manaaki call centre team can offer additional support to whānau through Dunedin and Southland Hospital Services - Te Ara Hauora and Te Huinga Tahi, where this team will be available to meet and support the patients at the appointment and may also check to see if any other health, social, or well-being support is needed.  

Working together to promote Equity: The Manaaki call centre at WellSouth's Dunedin offices is calling all Māori and Pasifika patients one week prior to a hospital appointment. The team will also offer to support access to any other health or social services. 
Pictured: Janine Cochrane, Nancy Todd, Peter Ellison and Matapura Ellison.

“It’s important to offer this extra support for our Māori and Pasifika to assist whānau to feel more comfortable and informed when engaging within the hospital environment, this is also an opportunity to engage with Māori and Pacific Providers and enrolment with General Practice” says Nancy Todd, Te Whatu Ora Southern Associate Māori Health Officer, Secondary/Tertiary.

“Throughout Covid, there may have been changes to how whānau receive care or some previous appointments may have been postponed, so this extra step helps our whānau feel safe, their wishes respected and gives the message that the appointment is important for their health.”

Te Whatu Ora Southern has had a project phoning Māori and Pacifika for appointment in Cardiology, Respiratory and ENT.  This has been very helpful in supporting attendance at clinics across the district.  The new service with WellSouth is providing broader support for attendance at outpatient clinics at Dunedin and Southland hospitals, as well as rural hospitals in Queenstown, Dunstan, Gore, and Oamaru. The team are now phoning Māori and Pacifika for clinics in Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics, General Surgery and moving to cover for all clinics.  We expect that this will require up to 70 outbound calls made each weekday.

“Our priority is to support patients to access the care they need and that includes reducing missed appointments,” says Janine Cochrane, General Manager, Surgery and Radiology, Te Whatu Ora Southern.   

Peter Ellison, WellSouth Associate Māori Health Strategy & Improvement Officer, Primary and Community says with the manaaki team already in place at WellSouth it was a natural fit to support re-engagement with hospital-based care.

“The team has built good relationships and trust with Māori and Pacific communities through the support they’ve provided throughout Covid,” says Peter. “We are pleased to build on those connections and support continued engagement with health services.”

A partnership of WellSouth, Ministry of Social Development and the former Southern DHB, now Te Whatu Ora,  the Manaaki-Well-being call centre team was initially established in the early stages of the Covid outbreak this year. The team proactively contacted every Māori and Pacific patient who tested positive for Covid-19 to assess their welfare needs during isolation and referring patients and their whānau to an appropriate Māori or Pacific provider whenever a need is identified.

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