The value of social work in the health system

ANZASW is proud to have partnered with Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (AHANZ) in commissioning the report Hidden in plain sight: Optimising the allied health professions for better, more sustainable integrated care. Hidden in plain sight recommends a greater role for allied health professionals within the public health system.

The release of this report, by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, is timely as Aotearoa New Zealand begins a major overhaul of health services. The redesign of the health system provides a perfect opportunity for allied health professionals to play an increased role, alleviating pressure on health services.

ANZASW is clear the new health system must be person-centric, focusing on the prevention and management of long-term conditions. This will require a significant move away from the traditional models of care to one utilising the broad skill base of the wider allied health workforce.

Social workers are a key allied health profession and support in holistic care planning. Increased input from social workers in integrated care teams can support a more person-centred, equitable, high quality and cost-effective integrated health and disability system.

Social work services within an integrated care model have been associated with improved behavioural outcomes, cost containment and savings, prevention, and improved health and service utilisation.

The report says the Government will need to invest bold funding, cultural and information changes in order to deliver this model. Professional silos will also need to be broken down in order to allow more multi-disciplinary care teams to operate effectively.

ANZASW urges the Government to fully implement the findings of the report in the redesign of the health system.


View the contribution of social workers to the new system here.

View the full report prepared by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research here on the AHANZ website.


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