Investigation into mental health facilities shows a system in disarray

The Health Minister must urgently launch an inquiry into mental health services, after serious issues with the standard of care at mental health and disability facilities around the country were revealed today, the Green Party said.

A NZ Herald investigation of more than 60 Crimes of Torture reports show repeated basic breaches of patients’ rights, such as access to fresh air, water, or meaningful interaction. It also identifies systemic, recurrent problems across all District Health Boards (DHBs), including understaffing and undertraining, poor record-keeping, and a worrying use of seclusion and restraint.

“The treatment of some mental health patients in this country is far worse than we could ever have imagined,” said Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague.

“Nobody deserves to be treated like this, let alone the most vulnerable in our society, who enter the mental health system seeking treatment, not punishment – it’s harrowing, brutal stuff.

“These reports clearly show a whole system in the midst of a slow collapse brought about by increasing demand and underfunding, with oversight massively lacking from the Government.

“I, and many others, have repeatedly asked the Minister of Health, Jonathan Coleman, to intervene, but he has so far rejected all calls for an inquiry.

“The Minister can no longer sit at his desk, patting himself on the back while he fudges his numbers and ignores the real issues. This is a real crisis, and an international disgrace.

“The reports show that seclusion is not always recorded and that seclusion-like environments are being used without being recorded as such, meaning the Minister's reassurances that use of seclusion is declining are entirely meaningless.

“These findings are the result of unannounced inspections of mental health facilities, but these practices are happening all around the country on a daily basis.

“If the Minister again refuses to help out of the fear of bad PR, I welcome to Ombudsman’s consideration of a special investigation, and I would urge the Human Rights Commission to consider doing the same,” said Mr Hague.

Latest Health Announcements

Story

National’s irresponsible COVID plan will cost lives

The National Party’s plan to remove all COVID restrictions on 1 December, regardless of whether or not people are vaccinated, would cost lives, the...
Read More

Story

Te Mātāwaka: Greens call for the Government to listen to Māori health experts

Te Mātāwaka caucus support the call from iwi leaders, and Māori providers for a COVID-19 vaccination rate of 95 percent for Māori, Pasifika and oth...
Read More

Story

Extend transitional medicinal cannabis standards to ease patients’ suffering

The Green Party is calling on the Minister of Health, Andrew Little to extend ‘transitional standards’ for medicinal cannabis to prevent thousands ...
Read More

Story

Greens’ Te Mātāwaka Caucus responds to ACT leader’s racial sabotage

The Green Party’s Te Mātāwaka is calling out ACT leader David Seymour for apparently targeting Māori vaccination providers for political gain. Mr S...
Read More

Story

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere receives her COVID-19 vaccination

Today, Green Party MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere received her COVID-19 vaccination from Tamaiti Whāngai COVID-19 vaccination centre, which had its offic...
Read More

Story

Green Party launch petition calling for Labour to reverse public sector wage suppression on our nurses, teachers, DOC workers

The Green Party have launched a petition calling on Labour to reverse its decision to suppress the wages of our nurses, teachers, and DOC workers e...
Read More