Private or Public Mental Health Care?
A recent New Zealand household survey found 20.7% of our population needed mental health care.
Our government provides free care for only 3% of our population (those with serious and emergency mental health needs).
The other 17.7% generally pay for their own care from Gps, psychiatric specialists, psychologists, counsellors etc or use subsidised (government-funded) organisations, including Relationship Services, Presbyterian Social Services, Petersgate etc.
Private Care Advantages
In the public system there is usually no choice of doctor and other professionals.
Continuity – Fully Trained
In the public system many of the staff are still training and their jobs change 3-12 monthly, therefore continuity, which is very important for patients, is interrupted.
My patients are provided with my office and mobile phone numbers. (Telephone me if you need to).
Personal and Flexible Service
I discuss with each patient a treatment and management plan where their choices and timing can be accommodated.
Those who may qualify for free public care can wait up to 10 weeks for an initial outpatient assessment.
At the Anxiety Disorders Unit there is a wait of up to 10 months for a programme.
I can usually see patients within one week.
My fees could be less than any income loss you experience while waiting for assessment/treatment via the public system.
These are available, especially for patients where travel is difficult, either because they are too ill, are house-bound, or living out of Christchurch, and where time off work is difficult.
(The usual hourly consultation rates apply.)
My treatment fee is $360 per hour, GST inclusive.
I usually see a new patient for one hour for an assessment, advising diagnosis and treatments recommended (including those which other health professional and the public system can offer).
Providing there was previously good personality functioning and work record, the average treatment cost is usually in the vicinity of $1,000 total, and more where there is greater complexity.
Over 50% of my patients have an insurance policy and are eligible for refunds.
Check with your insurance company as to available cover and refunds which apply.
WINZ (Ministry of Social Development)
About 15% of my patients are low-waged or benefits and can get funding via WINZ.
Disability Allowance may be granted up to $2,963 (2010) annually, and can be higher if Temporary Additional Support (TAS) can also be granted.
I can determine medical eligibility.
WINZ staff determine whether there is a financial entitlement and the amount they can grant.
Your GP may need to counter-sign a quote to WINZ.
ACC (Reports or Treatment)
ACC has three levels of cover:
1. Covered by bulk funding to District Health Board and no private specialist fees allowed.
2. “Regulation” Fees – subsidy where the patient pays the balance (surcharge).
3. Via ACC Case Manager. Under my ACC clinical contract. ACC will pay the fees in full.
Legal Aid via Legal Services
This can be arranged by your solicitor/barrister for:
Mental Health Act second opinion
ACC second opinion
Services I Offer
Insurance Reports/ACC Reports.
Review of other professionals’ reports.
Several mental health professionals in different disciplines work from the Caledonian Clinic, including our Clinic Social Worker, Brenda Lois. When necessary, and with your agreement, I can obtain their help with shared care, or I can work with your current health professionals, especially your GP.
Working Together for Wellness
Treatment works best as a Joint Adventure.
My aims in helping my patients include:
Recognising their problems and potential
Assisting them in getting out of illness
Encouraging self-acceptance and confidence
Making and setting goals
Gaining abilities and a balanced lifestyle
Seeking ongoing recovery and wellness.
Being a medical practitioner I often prescribe medication. Usually it is a partial solution.
Non-Medical: I use psychotherapy/counselling including individual and group therapy.
Other health professionals may be included as improvements and insights occur.
Referrals are best, but not essential. You can contact us direct to make an appointment.
I receive referrals from:
Psychologists and other professionals
ACC Case Managers
WINZ and CYPS
Lawyers and the Courts
District Health Boards (hospitals)
Partners, parents and families
Contact us for Mental Health Advice
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