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Staffed Houses Due for Review

Staffed Houses Due for Review

Mental Health Provider Deplores Union Scare Tactics

A major non-governmental health provider says NUPE’s opposition to improvements for long-term mental health care in Christchurch shows a complete disregard of modern approaches to client support, and is really a desperate bid to retain membership.

The union is protesting against a Canterbury District Health Board decision to contract out its residential rehabilitation services to community-based and NGO providers.

Richmond’s Chief Executive, Dr Gerry Walmisley, says the 40-bed rehabilitative service (known as Staffed Houses) was established 15 years ago and is in need of further development.

“The Staffed Houses were set up in 1988 with funding obtained from the sale of Telecom, and at the time they were considered to be a significant improvement upon the traditional arrangements for patients with long term health needs.”

“However there have been many advances in mental health support in the past 15 years, and there is much more that could be done to provide effective recovery for these clients.

“The CDHB is seeking innovative providers to take this service forward in a way that offers people the best possible chance to improvement their health and their level of independence. There was never any intention for CDHB to retain ownership of this service, and it only the constant interference of NUPE that has denied these clientele increased opportunities for recovery.

“People with long term mental health conditions need much more than 24 hour nursing care – they need programmes that focus on recovery principles that encourage support for the greatest possible level of independence.

“NUPE has shown that it fails to understand the needs of its members and it hasn’t the slightest clue about what is in the interests of clients of residential mental health services. It is a sure sign of desperation that it takes to the streets to oppose a service improvement which the CDHB is dealing with in a completely appropriate manner.”

“We are aware of a NUPE press release forecasting doom and chaos in the cells of the Central Police Station if the Staff Houses are contracted out. This kind of scare mongering is reprehensible and continues to stigmatise people who suffer from mental health issues.”

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