Auditor General Echoes People’s Mental Health Report
Press Release ActionStation
1st June, 2017
Yesterday the Office of the Auditor General released a comprehensive report: “ Mental health: Effectiveness of the planning to discharge people from hospital”
From the findings it was clear that not only were there significant problems with the level of resourcing of acute psychiatric hospitals in New Zealand’s public mental health system, but that many of the problems identified echoed those found by the People’s Mental Health Review.
The Auditor General recognised the usefulness of the People’s Mental Health Review, and used our stories as confirmation for their findings:
“1.22 We reviewed some of the 500 stories that people submitted to the People's Mental Health Review.3 These stories gave us an insight into the views of people with a personal experience of mental health services in New Zealand. This helped us to understand and validate our findings.”
Much like the People’s Review, the Auditor General was particularly concerned about the level of demand and pressures that were clearly evident on acute and community services and needed to be “urgently addressed.”
“Of particular concern is the recognition of the high demand on people’s care” says Kyle MacDonald psychotherapist and spokesperson for the People’s Mental Health Report. “What is described is the practice of discharging, at short notice, and often with no clear plan or information, the ‘least unwell’ to make way for a ‘more unwell’ person. This was acknowledged as putting pressure on other parts of the system, and required more unwell people to be treated in other parts of the system.”
"This report adds to a growing chorus of voices calling for better public mental health services in Aotearoa.” says Laura O’Connell Rapira, campaign director at ActionStation. “Clients and their families; mental health workers and service providers; and now government officials have all been sounding the alarm. It's long past time the Government take urgent action."
In response to the People’s Mental Health Report’s findings that 93% of people were unhappy with their experience of mental health care, the Ministry cited their own research that “80% of consumers were satisfied with their experience.”
However the Auditor General's view on this consumer research was “In our view, the results that are published do not contain enough information to give a reliable indication of the satisfaction levels of people using mental health services. The response rate for the survey was not provided and there was no breakdown by DHB.”
ActionStation is an independent, crowdfunded community campaigning organisation representing over 150,000 New Zealanders acting together to create what we cannot achieve on our own: a society, economy and democracy that serves all of us - everyday people and the planet we love.