Answering the call for transformative action

“The objective is not to be a leader or a follower, but a guide. A good guide doesn’t stop at helping people change their beliefs or behaviours. Our work isn’t done until we’ve helped them accomplish their goals.” – Adam Grant, Think Again

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to increase the pressure on our Aotearoa New Zealand health system, the call for transformative action is getting louder. It is a call echoed through our KPI Programme team’s engagement with the mental health and addiction workforce and will be a key area of focus as we ramp up Programme activities for 2021.

Government inquiries such as He Ara Oranga and the Health and Disability System Review have repeatedly emphasised the need for system wide decisive actions that achieve better, more equitable wellbeing outcomes for people, whānau and communities. In each inquiry it has been highlighted that while several valuable initiatives already exist across Aotearoa, a lack of integration and collective momentum has limited our ability to achieve the desired improvements.

Although we understand that new sector policies can provide direction for addressing the systems complex challenges, one of the cornerstones of their effectiveness relies on our workforces’ ability to leverage existing capability and resources to translate policies into action, and create meaningful ways to measure their impact to continually improve services for people with mental health and addiction needs.

To transform current practices and re-orient our workforce to address these challenges, there is a need to harness and strengthen the use of data and research as a method for driving evidence-based improvements in the quality of our mental health and addiction system.

This year the team will be putting their attention on how they can be effective ‘guides’. To figure out how we can equip the sector to align existing initiatives and resources to improve the application of evidence in service delivery and grow our workforces’ collective commitment to learning and adapting at pace.

In this issue of The Indicator, we are sharing resources from our November 2020 forums, including stories from three District Health Boards (DHBs) who have been using data to influence changes in practice that are improving outcomes for tāngata whai ora. This issue also includes some different perspectives about the work still to be done to improve the engagement of family, whānau and friends when people receive care in inpatient settings.

As a team, we remain excited to be working with you all in 2021 to keep realising the full utility of benchmarking – because we know that together, we can drive continuous improvement and the equity of health outcomes.

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