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Published Tuesday 12 Dec 2017

A new trial is underway to help simplify and speed up the referral process for children and adolescent mental health services in the Hutt, with the aim of reducing appointment wait times.

For the next six months people making referrals should call Te Haika, the mental health and addictions contact centre, rather than contacting the infant, child, adolescent and family service (ICAFS) directly.

Te Haika’s core role is managing referral requests, and it has specific expertise and systems to maintain the quality and level of service that ICAFS has been providing in this area.

The goal of the trial is to free up senior clinicians to focus on their clinical and leadership roles rather than managing referrals. It will also give senior mental health workers more time to support clinicians with complex cases.

The trial aims to simplify and speed up the referral process, which should free up staff and reduce the amount of time that people are waiting for an appointment. If the trial is successful, a decision will be made in mid-2018 about whether to make it permanent.

The change was supported as part of an independent external review earlier this year to look at how to improve wait times for ICAFS appointments.

The ICAFS phone number will not change. People can still contact ICAFS staff during business hours to change appointment times, or to seek advice about behaviour or medication.

Te Haika can be contacted by phoning 0800 745 477, emailing faxing 04 918 2204. There are no changes to the existing e-referral system that GPs and primary care clinicians use currently.

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