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Facility Closures Fail Mentally Ill

Facility Closures Fail Mentally Ill

Thursday 15 Aug 2002

ACT New Zealand Wellington-based MP Heather Roy welcomed the coroner's findings in the Lesley Parr case but warned that improved information gathering will have no practical effect unless there are facilities available for psychiatrists to use.

"The recent closure of Te Whare o Rangatuhi, an acute facility based at the Kenepuru site, is an example of the Government's insistence that community-based care is the only option for psychiatric patients.

"Community Care founder Patricia Perkins has called for a U-turn in Government policy. She urges Government to provide more medium and long term beds for disturbed psychiatric patients.

"Instead, on July 5, Health Minister Annette King approved the closure of Te Whare o Rangatuhi, substantially reducing the number of acute beds available to doctors in the Wellington Region. The result was an immediate shortage of beds, and patients were forced to sleep on the floor. This is totally unacceptable. The Minister should take immediate action to rectify the situation.

"This latest closure follows a series of closures of long-term facilities which has left Porirua Hospital looking like a ghost town.

"Other western nations have acknowledged that it is necessary to have some long-term inpatient facilities.

"There are welcome advances in treatment which enable the early discharge of some patients, but there will always be a group of people who require long-term care.

"The desire to close all inpatient facilities is driven by politically correct thinking which is superficially attractive to government because it looks cheaper. What it results in is a system that fails the mentally ill," Mrs Roy said.


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