Tōku Oranga - Access and Choice

Tōku Oranga, the Southern Access and Choice programme, is a primary mental health and addiction service based in general practices in the Southern region. Part of the national Access and Choice 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.

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?

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:

Check if your practices host the Access Choice service, select your area below.

Toku Oranga Website