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Commission Disappointed By Naming Of Staff

15 September 2008

Commission Disappointed By Naming Of Staff

The Mental Health Commission is disappointed the founder of the Psychwatch website has chosen to start naming individual mental health staff.

The Commission’s Chair, Dr Peter McGeorge, says that focusing attention on individuals who work within mental health teams is unfair and is unlikely to bring about improvements in services.

“There are proper procedures and processes in place to complain about mental health services, and this is not the right way to draw attention to these issues,” he says.

“Mental health staff work in circumstances that many people would find very trying at times. There’s always room for improvement with gaining access to services but this isn’t the way to get those improvements. Singling out individuals goes against all the principles of natural justice and it won’t actually achieve what the founder of this website says he wants.”

Dr McGeorge says people concerned about the treatment they have received should complain in the first instance to the mental health service involved and, if they wish to take the matter further, to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

“DHBs have procedures and the Health and Disability Commissioner exists specifically to deal with these situations,” he says.

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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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