Prioritised virtual service evaluation results released

As New Zealand went into the first COVID-19 lockdown last year, Whānau Āwhina Plunket, with the Ministry of Health’s support established a prioritised virtual service (PVS) for our Well Child Tamariki Ora services. Through the PVS, we were able to continue to deliver these services to our thousands of clients and families, even as our ability to visit people in their homes was restricted.

We were very keen to learn from this new service, and with funding support from the Ministry and the Gray Family, we commissioned Malatest International to undertake an evaluation of the PVS. The evaluation included surveys of our whānau, staff; sentinel site visits as well as ePHR data analysis.

We are now pleased to share with you the findings from this evaluation and the impacts of the PVS on the community. The full report and A3 summaries of the sentinel site visits are available on our website

Here are some of the key findings: 

  • Almost all Whānau Āwhina Plunket staff felt that prioritisation targeted whānau with the highest needs, although some wanted to exercise discretion and judgement. Staff felt a key factor was to identify whanau needs in a partnership approach. 
  • The evaluation showed that having clear guidance can have significant impact in our response to whanau Māori and Pacific families.
  • Over 80% of whanau reported contacts with Whānau Ᾱwhina Plunket answered their questions on child health needs. Around 70% of whānau also said we answered their own health questions and helped them feel confident about their parenting. 
  • Around 80% of whānau were very positive about their contact with Whānau Ᾱwhina Plunket over the COVID-19 lockdown period. Almost all felt respected and listened to, trusted the Whānau Ᾱwhina Plunket staff member they spoke with and thought Whānau Ᾱwhina Plunket spoke with them in a meaningful way. 

We are incredibly proud of these findings as they are testimony to the skill and care of our staff, during an incredibly tough time. More importantly, however, our experience with delivering a PVS showed that with clear direction and careful prioritisation, we can target our resources on higher priority whānau with immediate impact.  

We could not assess the health outcomes for whānau because of the relatively short time between the lockdown period and the end of the evaluation (four months) but we are keen to undertake further analysis to assess wider health outcomes.    

Whānau were also happy with a mix of face to face and virtual service moving forward, showing a mixed method of delivery can play a significant role in the future delivery of Well Child services. 

This evaluation has enabled us to improve our delivery of Well Child services and we believe this will provide valuable insights for the review of Well Child Tamariki Ora moving forward. 

We are committed to continue improving our services for whānau, using the lessons learned from the PVS and evaluation to evolve how we deliver services and support families and whānau for generations to come and welcome the opportunity to discuss this further.