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King Says Psych Patients Can Sleep on the Floor


King Says Psych Patients Can Sleep on the Floor

The Minister of Health today declined to guarantee that no psychiatric patient would sleep on the floor in the future, ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"When I asked Annette King in Parliament today during Question Time to guarantee that no psychiatric patient would be left sleeping on the floor, she said she would not. She said psychiatric patients had slept on the floor under previous governments. In other words, patients had slept on the floor in the past, so it was acceptable for this practice to continue.

"This it outrageous. Families with patients in other wards - say the cancer or surgical wards - would not tolerate their family members sleeping on the floor. Why then should it be acceptable for psychiatric patients to be left in sub-standard conditions?

"The Minister frequently comments that the stigma attached to mental illness is a barrier to getting better. If sleeping on floors doesn't perpetuate the stigma, I don't know what does.

"The Minister needs to accept responsibility for the inferior treatment afforded to those with psychiatric conditions. She seems to have plenty of money to give to the new primary healthcare sector but not enough to adequately fund mental health services. Currently Mental Health receives sixty five percent of the recommended allocation.

"Psychiatric patients are left sleeping on the floors every week around New Zealand. Recently I revealed that in Hawkes Bay, Hillmorton in Christchurch, and Wellington Hospital, acute-need patients are frequently left to sleep on the floor or in hospital corridors.

"The Labour Government's under-funding combined with a sharp shift to community care and inadequate inpatient facilities mean that psychiatric patients are slipping through the cracks," Mrs Roy said.

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