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Te Tumu Wairoa - To head towards wellness

March 28, 2021

Te Tumu Waiora - To head towards wellness

Medplus has 2 new health practitioner roles to introduce to our patients, a Health Improvement Practitioner, and a Health Coach. These new roles are beginning to be rolled out across the country, and we are delighted to be one of the first practices on the North Shore to be involved. These positions have been fully funded, so are available at no cost to our patients. They help us provide holistic care to all, and we hope that you will find them of great benefit.

Primary care organisations have been working with NGOs, DHBs, service users and international experts over the past five years to develop a new way to provide convenient, personalised care and support for people experiencing mental distress or addiction challenges. The Te Tumu Waiora model of care is the culmination of that work.

Based on international evidence and local co-design, the new model of care provides rapid, targeted brief intervention to people who are experiencing mental distress or who need behavioural advice and support.

This service is accessed through general practice and is based around new roles in the primary care workforce – the Health Improvement Practitioner (HIP) and the Health Coach. Based in the practice, these new members of the team provide advice and support to clients based on individualised goals, promoting self-management and connecting people to other services they may need. The HIP and Health Coach work closely with local community NGO support workers, ensuring that people can access the full range of help they need to manage mental distress, encourage and maintain behaviour change and increase their wellbeing.

The new model allows 'warm handover'. It means that a GP or nurse in the general practice can offer someone who is experiencing mental distress or addiction issues the option of seeing the HIP in the same location quickly – often immediately. A support plan is developed, with follow-up as needed, tailored to individual circumstances. For some people, the initial session is enough to provide the emotional or behavioural support needed.


The Health Coach works in partnership with people who need support for behavioural or lifestyle changes, promoting self-management and achievement of goals and helping them navigate and connect with other services.

The Health Coach is health practitioner who can help patients with self-management support and with achieving their goals for improved mental wellbeing or lifestyle or behaviour change.

The Health Coach offers continuity of care as well as emotional support and guidance. Coaches are part of the general practice team but also help people to navigate other services and to get access to any social and cultural support they may need.

The Health Coach will typically have half of their day unscheduled, so time is available for patients needing or wanting same day appointments.


HIPs are qualified and experienced mental health professionals who have completed specialist training in the Te Tumu Waioira primary mental health model.

The HIP is part of the general practice team and sees people of all ages and at all stages of their lives and with any type of issue related to behaviour change or mental wellbeing.

The HIP's day is scheduled so they can often see people immediately when they are in the practice and some form of support.

Consultations are typically short – less than 30 minutes and are focused on evidence-based brief interventions.

The HIP will help the patient to agree goals and put the necessary support, follow up and review in place to help him or her achieve those goals.

Feedback is provided to relevant members of the general practice team and all information is integrated into the patient record.

The HIP also educates other team members and helps to develop pathways and protocols around mental wellbeing and addiction support.