Unplanned Integration Is Recipe For Disaster
“Unplanned integration of mental health patients and the placement of drug or alcohol programme recipients into suburban New Zealand without adequate planning, support, and community acceptance, is a recipe for disaster,” says New Zealand First Leader and Member for Tauranga, Rt Hon Winston Peters.
“Three of the fourteen homes in one South Auckland street are now ‘community care’ houses. This shows a callous disregard for the rights of homeowners to ensure a safe environment for their families and risks diminishing property values significantly.
“This situation is being repeated in communities throughout New Zealand. The enthusiasm shown by some medical personnel to get patients into community houses, irrespective of the appropriateness of their location or the support services available, is regrettable. This, coupled with the level of disregard shown by some local authorities for the views of the communities they exist to serve, often makes a difficult situation unbearable.
“The Minister of Health, and her Cabinet colleagues, must show leadership over this issue. Departments must recognise that community integration may not be appropriate for all mental health, and other patients requiring ongoing treatment. It is certainly not appropriate for every community. To place those requiring assistance into community care facilities irrespective of their suitability, or to ignore the concerns of communities, risks alienating those they are seeking to help.
“The Prime Minister and Minister of Justice recognise this reality as they have recently made submissions on behalf of their communities. It is up to health professionals to ensure that the goodwill of communities is not taken for granted, and that patients are not placed into communities where they are not welcome, thereby potentially prolonging their rehabilitation,” said Mr Peters.