Te Tumu Waiora gets a big thumbs up from general practice

Canterbury's general practices find having Te Tumu Waiora roles in their practices overwhelmingly positive and of great benefit to their patients and teams, a recent survey shows. 

Te Tumu Waiora is a new way of delivering wellbeing, mental health and addictions support through general practice.

Ninety eight percent of respondents agreed that having a Health Improvement Practitioner (HIP) in practice was beneficial to patients and 90 percent agreed Health Coaches were also beneficial. 

One respondent commented that: “The HIP is so helpful for patients who are 'stuck' or distressed.  [Our HIP] is amazing at helping [patients] find a way to become 'unstuck' whether it's because they are depressed or have just lost motivation…. The Health Coach is great at sharing the load as they have time to encourage and give lifestyle advice.  It’s fabulous to have someone enthusiastic to help motivate people in this area.”

Similar numbers of respondents also believed the benefits flowed to the practice team too. Comments included:

  • “Our 15-minute consults are so time pressured - it often feels like we are fighting fires. It is good to have a team working on the prevention of the fires and [providing] support when they are out of control.”
  • “[As a GP, Te Tumu Waiora] takes so much pressure off and allows us to delegate a bit more of the care of our patients. It also feels like a whole team approach and a much more holistic way of caring for our population.” 
  • “It eases that sense of shuffling someone out the door with a half-resolved problem.”
  • “It feels good to meet a patient’s needs even when feeling busy or overwhelmed.”
  • “I would no longer have any desire to work somewhere that does not have this fantastic support.  I have been a practice nurse for 28 years and this has been the most useful innovative addition to general practice.”

Dr Lizzie Loudon (pictured), GP Lead for Te Tumu Waiora Canterbury, said the results provided a clear indication that Te Tumu Waiora provides immense value for both patients and general practice teams.  

“Themes from the survey show practice teams appreciate having HIP and Health Coach roles onsite and integrated into the team, so patients could often be seen on the same day,” says Lizzie.

“They also demonstrate how Te Tumu Waiora staff can engage with hard-to-reach patients and reduce the pressure on GPs and nurses by supporting patients to manage chronic illness and mental health.”

Furthermore, the survey highlighted that Te Tumu Waiora is changing the way clinicians engage with patients, with three quarters of clinicians saying they were more likely to prescribe a lifestyle intervention since having a HIP and Health Coach in practice, while over half said they were more likely to explore mental health issues knowing there was a HIP or Health Coach to help support the patient if needed.  

The feedback also identified barriers some practices experience to rolling out Te Tumu Waiora including physical space at the practice, training and orientation, and integration into practice teams which provides useful feedback for the teams.
Approximately 84 people responded from across 20 practices, including general practitioners, practice nurses, practice managers, allied health workers and administrators. 

Lizzie presented the findings at the national Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addictions Conference in March – view the presentation. 

For more information go to tetumuwaioracanterbury.co.nz and for queries contact Programme Lead Stacy Belser. 

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