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Hillmorton Hospital External Review Welcomed

Media Release
For Immediate Use

20 March 2008

External Review Welcomed

The Mental Health Commission welcomes an external review of Hillmorton Hospital’s Acute Adult Inpatient Service following the deaths of three patients this year.

The Canterbury District Health Board announced today that a senior psychiatrist, Professor Graham Mellsop, has been asked to lead the review.

Mental Health Commissioner Ray Watson says the deaths are clearly of great concern.

“This is a tragedy for these patients and their families,” he says.

“The Canterbury District Health Board is doing the right thing by commissioning a review to check the quality of its admission, assessment and treatment procedures.”

Ray Watson says the Mental Health Commission will read with interest the results of the external review.


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Background about the Mental Health Commission:

The Mental Health Commission was established as a ministerial committee in response to the recommendations of the 1996 Mason Inquiry into Mental Health Services. In April 1998 it became a Crown entity. Its term has been extended three times, the most recent in August 2007, when its term was extended to 2015. At that time, the Commission’s functions were reframed to align with the future direction of the mental health and addiction sector.

The Mental Health Commission’s functions as defined by the Mental Health Commission Amendment Act 2007 are to:
- advocate for the interests of people with mental illness and their families generally (rather than for individuals or groups), while taking into account the interests of other stakeholders;
- promote and facilitate collaboration and communication about mental health issues;
- work independently and with others to promote better understanding of mental illness by the community, reduce the stigma and prejudice associated with mental illness, and to eliminate inappropriate discrimination on the grounds of mental illness;
- monitor, and to report to and advise the Minister on the implementation of the national mental health strategy;
- stimulate and support the development of integrated and effective methods or systems of providing care;
- stimulate and to do research into any matter relevant to mental illness.

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