The District Health Boards (DHBs) are charged with delivering health care for their resident populations under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000. Mental health arrangements are provided by the four Regional Mental Health Networks (RMHNs), and this study is a research evaluation of these regional approaches to mental health, with a view to assessing the actual contributions to date, other possible models of regional approaches, and the potential benefits that could be expected from these. Interviews were conducted with key informants from the RMHN, DHBs and non-government organisations.
The research combines qualitative interviews with rating scales to assess the context of the Regional Mental Health Networks (RMHNs), the tasks performed, the actual impacts on different criteria or valued outcomes and reflections on the overall value of the existing arrangements. Information on resourcing and benefits gained will be combined to conduct a cost-benefit analysis. In addition, a series of interviews with key informants provide commentary on the mental health sector and the place of RMHNs within this. A literature survey supplements the research information.