Inpatients failed by mental health system

A new report is damning about the care received by people from our mental health system, and the Minister of Health needs to take responsibility, the Green Party said today.

The Auditor-General report Mental health: Effectiveness of the planning to discharge people shows that only two-thirds of people discharged from hospital will be followed up within seven days and that no DHB is meeting its target on this measure.

“Our broken mental health system cannot deliver the care needed for New Zealanders. The Government is not providing the system with the funding it needs,” Green Party health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

I asked the Minister what he was doing about this very issue six months ago, and he fudged his responsibility for the health care that New Zealanders are receiving.

“For all DHBs in the last three years to consistently fail to meet the target to follow up with people within seven days of being discharged shows systemic failure. The Health Minister needs to bear responsibility for this. It is just not good enough.

“Discharge planning of mental health patients needs to be done with care, and at the moment our hospital staff are too overstretched to be able to deliver the care required.

“Monitoring mental health services is difficult, and we need to reinstate the Mental Health Commission to ensure that a light is shone on what is happening in some of the dark corners of mental health services in this country.

“Having a full mental health inquiry would get these issues the attention that they desperately need,” Ms Genter said. 

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