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Further inquiry needed on mental health spending

Further inquiry needed on mental health spending - National

National is calling for a further inquiry into health boards spending mental health money on other services.

An inquiry into six boards has found that five were not spending money allocated for mental health services in that area.

"These boards didn't use their mental health funding for that purpose, so what's happened to that money? I believe boards are spending the money on other services because they are under so much financial pressure," says National Disability Spokesperson Dr Scott.

"The Minister is accountable for this money not being used on mental health, but she is giving no assurance that this won't happen again.

"Eleven boards were reported to be dipping into mental health money, but this study only covered six. A further inquiry is needed into other boards that have the remaining 40% of mental health patients on their books.

"The Minister says the 'ring-fence policy is important' so that mental health gets its slice of funding. National agrees we set up the ring-fencing principle.

"What the public need to know is whether she is going to enforce this policy or simply continue to ignore it, as she has been for the past three years, leaving mental health in a mess.

"This Government has presided over woefully low workforce levels in the child and youth community services teams at a time when New Zealand continues to have the highest youth suicide rates in the OECD.

"This is appalling and adds to the Minister's long list of failings. I demand a full inquiry into mental health funding across the country, and a plan to show that a real difference will be made to the area of child and adolescent mental health," Dr Scott said.

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