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Minister plays politics with mental health

Minister plays politics with mental health

Source: PSA

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Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is playing politics as our mental health system collapses, the YesWeCare.nz health funding coalition says.

The comments follow a press release by the Minister this morning about Mental Health and Addiction nursing levels.

YesWeCare.nz campaign co-ordinator Simon Oosterman says hiring an insufficient number of staff is no way to fix our mental health crisis.

"Government funding hasn’t kept up with a growing population and its increasing mental health needs," he says.

"The level of Mental Health and Addiction nurses the Minister is celebrating is a cut in real terms."

Mr Oosterman says mental health users have increased by 60%, but the number of inpatient beds hasn’t changed and Police are dealing with more suicide calls.

"At best, Dr Coleman is out of touch," he says.

"At worst, he’s trying to score cheap political points while diverting attention away from a mental health system breaking under National’s watch."

Mr Oosterman says Dr Coleman’s views are at odds with the mental health and addiction workforce.

A survey by YesWeCare.nz found 9 in 10 people working in health feel they don’t have the staffing or resources to give Kiwis the care they need, when they need it.

YesWeCare.nz is a coalition of community groups and people working in health that is calling for adequate health funding.

ENDS

- 17% increase in Mental Health and Addiction Service nurses since 2011.

- 27% increase in Government Mental Health funding since 2008/09.

- 60% increase in mental health service users since 2007/08.

- 90% of people working in health in 2017 feel they don’t have the resources or staffing to give New Zealanders the health care they need, when they need it.

- A slight decrease in DHB Mental Health inpatient beds (from 598 to 589) since 2011/12.

- 150% increase in the number of people in emergency departments seen with a mental health crisis contact since 2007/08.

- 30% increase from 14,000 to 18,000 in the number of attempted suicides handled by Police since 2012/2013.

ENDS


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