Professional leadership for social work in state mental health services in Aotearoa New Zealand
Keywords:health social work, government-run health services, mental health social work, mental health, professional leadership,
AbstractThis paper recounts the changes in the New Zealand government-run health services over the past 15 years and the subsequent changes to social work leadership in mental health services. Drawing on two pieces of local research, the article will explore social work mental health leadership in New Zealand. The first piece of research investigates the views of social work professional leaders (PL) about their roles and the prospects for social work in mental health in the future. The second piece of research investigates a new type of professional leadership role in the mental health services of the Auckland District Health Board. Clinical governance is an emerging phenomenon in health services internationally that is aimed at advancing quality improvement. This paper links developments in social work professional leadership with the activities of clinical governance in mental health services. It concludes that there is evidence of an improvement to the leadership infrastructure and of the contribution of leaders to clinical governance in district health boards (DHBs). However, many challenges remain for social work leaders into the future.
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