Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Mental health reform needed

“Reports that mental health support workers and nurses at Wellington’s Mental Health Ward are scared, distressed and feel unsafe at work at Wellington’s Mental Health Ward is seriously concerning,” says ACT Party Deputy Leader and Mental Health Spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“News reports today claim Mental Health workers are leaving the profession due to safety concerns for them and their patients going unheard. This is at a time when mental health care support is needed more than ever 

“The problems with mental health in this country run deep. How can we expect to adequately care for our most vulnerable if the system is broken and dedicated mental health staff are finding it safer to leave the profession than provide care to those most in need of it?

“In 2017 the Chief Ombudsman recommended Capital and Coast District Health Board should stop using seclusion rooms as bedrooms. For three years nothing changed and patients have been treated in conditions breaching the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“Now, staff at Wellington’s Mental Health Ward say staffing is at crisis point with people leaving.

“We need to solve the structural issues in mental health care in New Zealand. We need better accountability for services and more emphasis on better outcomes for individuals and staff who work on the frontline.

“There is a failure in DHBs being both the purchaser and provider of mental health and addiction services.

“ACT has a plan to transform mental health and addiction services based on community need and individual need, accountability, and outcomes.

"A letter from staff at Wellington’s Mental Health Ward to the DHB shows change is needed now more than ever.”

ACT’s mental health policy can be found here