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Lachlan Jones and Malcolm Beggs tragedy

Health Minister Annette King said today she was frustrated that the families of Lachlan Jones and Malcolm Beggs are denied access to the full report of the review of care and treatment provided to Lachlan Jones by Waitemata Health's mental health services.

"The public is also denied access because the review was set up, before I became Minister, under the quality assurance provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act, and under that Act cannot be made public. That is very hard on the Jones and Beggs families, for whom we all feel great sympathy anyway."

Mrs King said she had written to Hospital and Health Services boards telling them she wanted no more reviews conducted under the Act. "As the review now stands, I cannot say anything more about the findings other than to comment on the summary released today by Waitemata Health. It is possible that more information will emerge during the Coroner's investigation."

"It is clear from the summary, however, that there was a terrible breakdown in the mental health services provided by Waitemata Health. Encouragement can be taken from the fact WHL has acknowledged those deficiencies, and is now improving the quality and safety of its care."

Mrs King reiterated the Government's commitment to adopting the New Zealand Mental Health Blueprint, and noted WHL endorsed this.

"I am also pleased WHL is now receiving more funding for mental health services, and is able to employ more qualified staff in its Community Assessment and Treatment Teams. There is, however, a real need to train more people to work in the mental health area, and that, rather than money, will affect the speed with which the blueprint can be adopted fully.

"This has been a terrible tragedy. My commitment is to see better mental health services, with greater community accountability, across the country.”

ends

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