Social work

Health social workers are professionally qualified social workers who assist patients and their whanau/families to manage the emotional and social impacts of illness and/or disability.

They assist the patient and family to develop strategies to manage any changes that have happened as a result of ill health or disability.


Health social workers

  • offer supportive counselling around health issues and the impacts those issues have on both the individual and the whanau/family
  • provide help in all cases of suspected family violence, abuse and neglect
  • support clients and families as they make important health-related decisions
  • assist clients to access the available support services they may need in the community,
  • provide advice and support to access agencies such as Work and Income, ACC etc.

Key personnel

Rachel Swain
Manager Social Work Acute

Nirmala Narasimhan
Manager - Social Work Rural and Community/ OPR/CDC

Lynette Eade
Lead Social Work Clinician (Mental Health and Addictions)


Health social workers are based in several locations in the community and in all Waikato DHB hospitals (Waikato Hospital, Thames Hospital and the three rural hospitals in Tokoroa, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui), and in the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre.

Contact information

Waikato Hospital Operator: (07) 839 8899 for all services and departments

Referral information

People living in the community can access a health social worker through their GP (general practitioner/family doctor), a district nurse, public health nurse etc.

People in any of our hospitals can access a health social worker through any nursing or medical staff member or other hospital staff (e.g. kaitiaki, physiotherapist etc.).