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Good And Bad News In ‘Wellness Budget’ Announcement


Good And Bad News In Today's ‘Wellness Budget’ Announcement Those with the Highest Needs Overlooked

Health professionals working with people affected by addiction welcome some initiatives announced by the Prime Minister today in response to He Ara Oranga (the report of the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction), but are concerned that people with the highest needs, and whānauwho support them, are being overlooking in the Government’s ’Wellness Budget’.

The Executive Director of Dapaanz (Addiction Practitioners’ Association Aotearoa New Zealand), Sue Paton, says that her members support government plans to increase access, and broaden the range of services available to people with mild to moderate addiction needs.

They also support moves to create an independent commission with oversight for the sector and the repeal and replacement of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act.

“But, and it’s a big ‘but’, we are concerned that people with high end, complex needs trying, for example, to get into residential care won’t get the urgent help they so desperately need, “she says.

“Their health, and the mental health and wellbeing of their whānau who are rarely acknowledged for the burden they bare, will be further compromised.

While acknowledging that there is some good news in today’s announcement, Ms Paton says Addiction Practitioners will have to wait till tomorrow to find out if the addiction workforce, and addiction services will be funded appropriately for the very important work that they do.

“Dapaanz wants to see practical support to ensure earlier intervention for people affected by addiction, reduced waiting times, an increase in the recruitment and retention of the addiction workforce and a dramatic increase in peer workers.

“We know that with appropriate support people with addictions can recover. It’s happening every day and many go on to become our most compassionate and valued citizens.

Their experience and wisdom should be an important part of any addiction prevention and treatment strategy, she says.


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