South Seas Healthcare Trust

Case study: South Seas Healthcare Trust

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A South Auckland healthcare provider puts the community at the heart of their COVID-19 response by providing an integrated approach to health and social service delivery.

South Seas Healthcare is Ōtara’s largest Pacific health provider, delivering a range of primary care, community and social services throughout South Auckland. Their vision is excellent health and wellbeing for Pacific people and all communities.

South Seas is part of the Pacific Consortium which includes Vaka Tautua, Penina Health Trust and Pacific Homecare, and focuses on meeting the needs of Pacific communities respectfully, seamlessly and in a culturally appropriate manner through connected and integrated service delivery. 

The outbreak of COVID-19 had a significant impact on Pacific people, Māori and the community of South Auckland. Demand for health and social services rose as a result of the pandemic and South Seas had to respond in an agile and collaborative manner to ensure the community was supported as the country locked down. 

A number of initiatives were delivered in response to COVID-19 that saw South Seas and its partners adopting an integrated and collaborative approach for service delivery that positioned Pacific people and their families at the heart of all its work.

The Community Wellbeing Hub

Due to an increased need for health and social support as a result of COVID-19, South Seas initially established a Community Wellbeing Hub, to connect Pacific people and their families to holistic, wrap around services that are easy to access and support their needs and goals.

Following this, South Seas established the Ōtara Community Based Assessment Centre (CBAC), located in the centre of town. The CBAC ensures easy access to COVID-19 testing for the community and to date (July 2020) has tested 10,000 individuals from over 182 suburbs. The Ōtara CBAC has had an unprecedented amount of walk-ins, with approximately 7.4% (700 individuals) accessing the Ōtara CBAC by foot. This is the highest number of walk-ins of any CBAC across New Zealand.

South Seas recognised the reach of the Ōtara CBAC and leveraged this point of entry to engage with people to assess their wider health and social service needs. These assessments quickly showed the growing support requirements of the community as a result of COVID-19. In response to these needs, South Seas connected individuals and families to the Community Wellbeing Hub and established a Food Hub to provide food support and parcels, including essential supplies.

South Seas also identified that there has been no South Auckland focused COVID-19 community response dedicated to and for Pacific youth. To respond to this, South Seas established the MYSTORY Bubblegum Initiative to provide Pacific youth and their families the essential support they need, during and post COVID-19. This has included training, upskilling and mobilising a group of Youth Navigators to support the community.

The average family accessing the Community Wellbeing Hub has seven members and, during lockdown, more than 250 families (88% Pacific) gained support from the Hub. The Food Hub has distributed over 5000 food parcels, along with $23,000 of food vouchers and 2,200 baby products, reaching over 17,000 people in need. The MYSTORY Bubblegum Initiative has reached over 25,000 youth, with over 300 individuals attending the Let’s Stick Together event aimed at supporting youth and their families post COVID-19.

Every door is the right door

Underpinning South Seas approach is that ‘every door is the right door.’ By working together to mobilise groups including churches, sports clubs, NGOs and community leaders to connect with those in need and to distribute resources, South Seas and its partners have been able to provide seamless services that improve outcomes for families.

PwC has supported South Seas throughout their COVID-19 journey, providing project management support to develop their initial COVID-19 strategy and working alongside them, connecting South Seas with the right parts of government to seek necessary funding for the Community Wellbeing Hub, Ōtara CBAC and Food Hub. Operating behind the scenes, PwC worked to ensure South Seas had the tools it needed to continue to expand and evolve.

In June 2020, the New Zealand Health and Disability System Review (Hauora Manaaki ki Aotearoa Whānui) recommended that a new model of community and primary health care (Tier 1) services be created, based on the needs of local populations. The South Seas model is an example of how this can work to the greatest possible advantage for community health. Now that South Seas is transitioning into the new business-as-usual, PwC is helping South Seas establish and adapt its processes to support the new way of working.

South Seas has received heartfelt feedback from the community for the additional support provided through these difficult times: "Thank you so much for the support and empathy during these testing times. I am a proud Polynesian man but am truly humbled for the assistance. Again thank you so much, keep up the good work in helping our community, it does make a difference. Ofa atu."

A number of initiatives were delivered in response to COVID-19 that saw South Seas and its partners adopting an integrated and collaborative approach for service delivery that positioned Pacific people and their families at the heart of all its work.

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Tamati Shepherd

Tamati Shepherd

Partner, National Health Practice Leader, PwC New Zealand

Tel: +64 22 012 0844

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